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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Delivers Remarks at Rally Celebrating Fair Fares Funding

June 12, 2018

Mayor Bill de Blasio: John, thank you so much and this is the right way to celebrate, to give credit to the folks who really originated this idea, who fought for it in the beginning, who heard the voices of the people, and I always say that social change comes from the grassroots, comes from the bottom up, not from the top down. So all of you are the change agents, give each other a round of applause.


John thank you for your great leadership, Riders Alliance working together with Nancy and David and everyone at Community Service Society, you took a powerful idea and you built that grassroots focus, and you deepened, and you told the world about it, and you spread the faith, and you both did a great job. You shepherded this movement beautifully with so many other good people here. It’s a day you should very both – very, very proud of it, and your organization should very proud of.

And to Speaker Corey Johnson, this was a great – a great example of what the democratic process is supposed to yield, a give and take with shared goals, shared values, figuring out the right ways to get things done. I want to say to all the Council Members too, it’s a day you should very proud of, you fought for something that really mattered, like everything in life, it took time and energy to work it through, but we ended up with a really fantastic plan, so congratulations Speaker, congratulations to all the members of the Council.


I want to give you three quick reference points here. Five years ago, when I had the honor of running for this office, I talked about the tale of two cities. And this is exactly – you’re exactly right, this is about that tale of two cities, those divisions that we must overcome to be as great as we can be in this city. This is another day of taking on that tale of two cities and say we’re going to put it in our past, we want a New York City that actually works for everyone. Are we ready for a New York City that works for everyone?

Audience: Yeah!

Mayor: A year ago, in this very place, a number of us were here, and I had the honor of introducing Senator Bernie Sanders, and we spoke about the need for a millionaire’s tax to fund the MTA. We talked about what real fairness is, that those who had done so very well, often because of government policies that help them do so very well, that they would pay a little bit more so everyone else could get around, and so low-income New Yorkers could have a gateway to opportunity. We’re going to continue that fight for that millionaire’s tax.

Audience: Yeah!

Mayor: Are you ready for that fight?

Audience: Yes!

Mayor: And then at the beginning of this year when I had the honor taking the Oath of Office for a second term, I talked about the mandate for this term, the fairest big city in America, our goal over these next four years, and this is something I know the Council feels deeply as well, is to make New York City the fairest big city in America, to make it a beacon to this whole country.

It is a tough time in our history, in this nation, that’s when you need to step up and show the way, we need to show this whole country what fairness looks like. And it’s not just a moral matter. First and foremost it’s a moral matter, but it’s also about the future of this city. A place that is a fair is a place that people want to be. A place that is a fair is a place that people can believe in, where everyone has a sense of belonging, and they know that we are actually all in it together. That is the city we are all at work building. One where everyone is respected and everyone is honored, and that’s what is being achieved here today with this huge step forward for Fair Fares, and everyone has a part of that victory, congratulations to everyone.


All of the pieces to create a fair city have to come together. We have to make sure there is opportunity and we have focused on that and this Council I want to say has been outstanding from the very beginning. Four plus years ago when we did paid sick leave, the way we fought for higher wages and benefits, more affordable housing, lawyers to make sure people weren’t evicted, we’ve all done that together. To make sure our kids had opportunity we created Pre-K, and now we are creating 3-K, that’s what fairness looks like and we got more to do. But at the beginning of January, people in this city are going to experience for the first time the Fair Fare. Isn’t that going to be an amazing day?

And that is going to be a big step towards the kind of city that really respects and includes everyone. I want to very clear, and I know the Speaker feels this deeply, I don’t want to live in a city where someone is desperate to get a job but they can’t afford to get to the job interview. That’s not the New York we signed up for, is it?

We need a city if someone strives to better themselves and get an education for their future that they can actually afford to get on the subway and get to that school right? We need a city where a parent who’s making sure that their child gets the very best education can actually afford to take their child to school on the subway. That’s what we are going to work for.

But I’ll finish by reminding everyone, if we really want fairness we need a subway that works for everyone. We need a subway that actually works. It’s kind of – it’s not fair if it doesn’t show up. So this today is a big step, with New York City stepping forward once again, directly covering this cost direct to people who need it. As you heard earlier, not a subsidy to the MTA, we have done enough subsidies to the MTA. The people of New York City pay and pay and pay for the MTA, it’s time for the State to come up with a real solution for the MTA and that’s what we are going to fight for next.

We’re showing people the way things should be done today. We’re acting like the city that we’re really meant to be, where everyone is in this together. Where we all ride on the same subway care, all of us united, and I wanted to congratulate everyone, because united you have pulled off a great victory. Congratulations to all. As is my habit, I’m going to say a few sentences in Español. I think one day I’m just going to throw in another language to throw people off.

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

A city that is fair, a city that everyone wants to live in because everyone is treated fairly, thank you and God bless you all.

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