TWU Still Backs Bill Perkins After He Leaves 125th Street Riders in the Lurch

State Senator Bill Perkins successfully pressured DOT into shrinking its plan for Select Bus Service on 125th Street in Harlem. Now that the city is moving ahead with a shorter bus lane, it looks like Perkins still might not pay any political price for sticking more than 32,000 daily bus riders with a slow ride.

Bill Perkins' opposition to better bus service "won’t impact our support," TWU says. Photo: NY Senate

The Transport Workers Union Local 100 has a long history of donating to Bill Perkins’ campaigns, dating back to his days on the City Council, giving $1,000 to the candidate in both 1997 and 2001.

After serving on the City Council, Perkins was elected to the State Senate in 2006, and reelected in 2010. In 2006, Local 100 contributed $2,000 to Friends of Bill Perkins. The union’s campaign contributions increased in 2010, with three contributions totaling $4,750.

When Streetsblog asked TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen about Select Bus Service in 2010, he supported the program. “Local 100′s in favor of better service for our New York City transit riders, and of course we’re in favor if more people start riding the buses, that’s more jobs for Local 100 members,” he said.

Local 100 spokesperson Jim Gannon echoed that sentiment on the phone with Streetsblog today. “The union’s position on Select Bus Service is that it’s a good thing, because it speeds buses and encourages bus ridership,” he said.

Perkins is up for reelection next year. Will his opposition to robust 125th Street SBS affect TWU’s support? “TWU does think that Select Bus Service is a good thing, but just because he opposes a portion of it, that won’t impact our support moving forward,” Gannon said.

So, after failing to come through for his bus-riding constituents, Perkins should still expect a check in the mail from TWU next year.