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MTA hike fare-y may visit us again

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MTA hike fare-y may visit us again

BY PETE DONOHUE

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

June 6th 2008

 

[float=right]33884971-20184933.jpg

(4) train at 14th Street Union Square station.[/float]Brace yourself for the possibility of another subway fare and toll hike.

 

A rare back-to-back increase - along with service cuts - could be in store for commuters now that MTA number crunchers are suddenly dealing with a massive hole in next year's budget.

 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's projected 2009 budget gap has ballooned - doubling or even tripling original estimates, sources said.

 

Without new state money, officials may soon raise the spectre of increases, service cuts - or both, sources and experts said.

 

"They don't have many options," one source said.

 

Subway riders gasped at the suggestion.

 

"I'm a recent college graduate so I can't afford the subway as it is," said Bryan Tran, 21, of Queens. "Any higher and I will have to walk everywhere. It's ridiculous."

 

The MTA by law must have a balanced budget. The preliminary plan will be released next month.

 

"Back-to-back fare hikes would slam riders, already reeling from higher costs of living and a poor economy," said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign.

 

The MTA just boosted fares in March, and those hikes will raise nearly $200 million over the course of a year. If the agency is forced to fill next year's budget gap with increases in subway and commuter train fares, and bridge tolls, the next hikes would have to be even bigger.

 

The only other consecutive set of increases was in 1980 and 1981.

 

The latest projections had the MTA struggling to fill a $220 million budget hole. That number has grown to $500 million to $700 million, sources said.

 

Part of the problem is that last year the MTA predicted that revenue from fees on real estate transactions would drop by $160 million between January and May. Instead, they plummeted by $240 million, MTA documents show.

 

And despite pledges to fight for more MTA funding, the state Legislature later joined Gov. Paterson in slashing expected subsidies from one state account by $40 million earlier this year. The hit repeats next year.

 

Paterson picked former MTA Chairman Richard Ravitch in April to lead a panel to weigh funding solutions for the authority's operating and construction budgets.

 

Although Ravitch has been delving into the authority's finances, the other panelists haven't been selected.

 

Before this fiscal crisis, MTA officials adopted a policy of modest fare and toll hikes every other year, with the next round coming in 2010.

 

Board member Mitchell Pally, who voted against this year's hikes, said he doesn't expect that schedule to be altered in preliminary budget next month. Fare hikes and service cuts are "the last two things we should be thinking about," especially with gasoline prices so high, he said.

 

He called for the federal government to again provide operating budget funds for transit, a practice he said halted more than a decade ago.

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Funds coming from part of taxes on oil company windfall profits could easily pay for 40% of the entire county's transit systems budgetary needs, including amtrak's. I all ready can barely keep my card above empty, this would mean not coming to the city more than 2x a month unless i wanted to take forever & walk everywhere (which i used to do when i was really dead broke).

 

- Andy

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I heard that the MTA is green enough that it could sell pollution credits to some polluting company. That would allow the polluting company to legally pollute and would give the MTA funds.

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I guess the whole service Increase plan is out the window.

 

I doubt it was ever there in the first place; the MTA just used it as a means of justifying the fare increases in March, only to renege on their "promise". If anything, I've noticed a decrease in service quality since the March fare hike. For example, the (D) and the Bx17, formerly two of the most efficient bus and train lines in the Bronx, are now painfully slow and less frequently running. And what ever happened to the new Bx50 that was supposed to come here? I think it was all, once again, another trick.

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Yes there was a plan to increase Subway service and it was put in place when we pick our new Assignments that were suppose to be in effect June 22. Now our pick is extended until further notice.

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I doubt it was ever there in the first place; the MTA just used it as a means of justifying the fare increases in March, only to renege on their "promise". If anything, I've noticed a decrease in service quality since the March fare hike. For example, the (D) and the Bx17, formerly two of the most efficient bus and train lines in the Bronx, are now painfully slow and less frequently running. And what ever happened to the new Bx50 that was supposed to come here? I think it was all, once again, another trick.

 

(D)elta service has 10 minute headways during the non rush on the Weekdays and 8 minutes on the weekends due to beach crowds..

 

That hasnt changed in two years...

 

I work the (D)elta i know..

 

Remember the (D)elta has NO priority when it leaves the Concoruse Line 59th, West 4th Dekalb and Murphy will hold that train for connections with or cross a (A)pple or a ©hraile or a (F)ox or a (N)ovember whenever they feel like..

 

Just needed to clear that up..

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Funds coming from part of taxes on oil company windfall profits could easily pay for 40% of the entire county's transit systems budgetary needs, including amtrak's. I all ready can barely keep my card above empty, this would mean not coming to the city more than 2x a month unless i wanted to take forever & walk everywhere (which i used to do when i was really dead broke).

 

- Andy

Hello my friend ( Metsfan Andy); Do you know where the money will come from to pay a tax on windfall profits ? It will come out of our wallets in the form of higer yet fuel prices as it allways does its federal business as usuall. Steve R.

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Hello my friend ( Metsfan Andy); Do you know where the money will come from to pay a tax on windfall profits ? It will come out of our wallets in the form of higer yet fuel prices as it allways does its federal business as usuall. Steve R.

 

Windfall profits are just that. It wouldn't affect gas prices adversely. High gas prices that cripple the economy as we are having now should be met with windfall profits tax to help people other ways such as a fat check from the feds.

 

- Andy

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