Rep. Torres calls for increase in funding to help make New York City’s subways safer following fatal shooting at Bronx station

In response to Monday’s shooting at the Mount Eden Avenue subway station in the Bronx, U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres has written a letter asking for an increase in Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) funding to make New York City’s subway system safer and to help prevent weapons from entering into the city via the I-95 corridor.

The Torres-signed letter was sent out on Thursday, Feb. 15, to the Hon. Kay Granger, chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, as well as the Hon.David Joyce, chair of the Subcommittee on Homeland Security within H-307 at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

“In the wake of the horrific shooting in my district in the Bronx that left one dead and five others wounded, more must be done to ensure our public transit systems access to strong levels of federal funding,” Torres wrote in the letter. “That is why I ask, as you continue to negotiate a spending deal for the remainder of FY24, I would implore you both to increase funding for the Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP).”

NYPD officers at the Mount Eden Avenue subway station following the shooting on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. Photo Dean Moses

The Feb. 12 shooting, which took place on a northbound 4 train, claimed the life of a 34-year old man and wounded five others. Following the incident, police identified the deceased male as Obed Beltran-Sanchez, who was homeless at the time of his death. The six victims ranged from 14 to 71 years of age.

Three males are believed to be responsible for the shooting, according to the NYPD. On late Thursday morning, a 16-year old was taken into custody in connection with the incident, which has been reported to have been gang related.

Torres serves New York’s 15th Congressional District, which includes a majority of the neighborhoods in the South and West Bronx.

In the letter, Torres explains how New York City’s public transit system covers an estimated 250 miles of rails and serves millions of workers, tourists and school children 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Without the subway system, which is heavily reliant on TSGP funding, the ability for the city to function would be severely impacted, according to Torres.

TSGP’s funding of an estimated $350 million just over a decade ago, was most recently funded at $93 million, according to the letter.

“The TSGP funding levels have been drastically underfunded, and our nation’s public transit systems need strong levels of funding to ensure that our transit systems are safe and secure,” wrote Torres. “Without a significant increase to the TSGP, I fear events like what occurred on Monday in the Bronx will continue – and we must do all we can to restore strong levels of (TSGP) funding.”

Torres also highlighted the fact the nation, as a whole, is still recovering from mass gun violence and that even with New York City having some of the strictest gun possession laws in the U.S., weapons still flood through the I-95 corridor, which is also referred to as the “Iron Pipeline.”

“This highway permits firearms from southern states to travel to my home state of New York to ruin the lives of innocent bystanders,” Torres added.

Reach Steven Goodstein at sgoodstein@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260–8326. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes

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