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MTA Holds Monthly Meeting On Construction & Finance

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The MTA held its monthly meeting Monday where board members once again called on Albany lawmakers to step in and rescue the cash-strapped agency. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

 

When the MTA passed a so-called doomsday budget in December, it projected a budget gap of $1.2 billion.

 

Just two months later, the picture is even bleaker with MTA officials floating a worst-case scenario in which that gap could grow by more than half -- up another $650 million. It’s all the more reason, officials say, for Albany to come to the agency's rescue.

 

"The numbers certainly reinforce the point that we need to get the recommendations of the Ravitch Commission passed,” said MTA Executive Director & CEO Elliot "Lee" Sander.

 

Those recommendations include a new payroll tax and East River bridge tolls. If passed, it could avert the need for service cuts and a massive fare hike.

 

In the meantime, the MTA is taking a hit from the struggling real estate market, which provides the agency with tax revenue.

 

Those tax revenues were $37 million less than projected in January, $38 million in February. If that rate were to continue, it would blow another $446 million hole in the MTA's budget.

 

Making matters worse, ridership has begun to decline after years of steady growth, most likely because people are losing jobs and not commuting to work -- adding pressure on the legislature to act.

 

"We are now getting into the timeline that if they don't move, we're going to be in a very bad place,” said Sander.

 

No matter what happens in Albany though, the MTA is moving forward with one of its proposed service cuts, a plan to reduce the number of trains running on the weekends on 10 different subway lines.

 

Those lines are the A, D, E, F, G, J, M, N, Q and R.

 

The MTA says the change may not be noticeable because so many lines are already disrupted by weekend construction. It would result in an added wait time of one minute on average. The cutback would save $4.4 million dollars.

 

The MTA says it will take effect in June.

 

NY 1

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