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jacsnyy

Not so fast

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By FREDRIC U. DICKER and BRENDAN SCOTT IN ALBANY AND TOM NAMAKO IN NY (New York Post)

 

Hold off on those fare hikes!

 

Gov. Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver presented an 11th-hour MTA rescue plan to Senate leader Malcolm Smith this evening that replaces tolls on free bridges with new taxes and fees on automobiles, The Post has learned.

 

The plan -- which the sources said was sparked by intense public pressure -- breathed new life into an MTA bailout that would stave off crippling fare hikes and service cuts green-lighted by the agency's board Wednesday.

 

The compromise is aimed at a handful of Senators who refused to approve any plan that included tolls.

 

Legislators will gather in Albany on Monday to discuss the proposal, and they could vote on the plan as early as next week, around the same time as the state's overall budget.

 

"We are going to work straight through the weekend," Smith said. "I think as [silver] said we are faster moving on the budget items, but I think the MTA will be right in that same area."

 

Lawmakers previously said the MTA rescue wouldn't be considered until well after they approved the state budget.

 

Some of the levies could include a $25 added fee on vehicle registrations, a surcharge on driver's licenses, and 13 "other auto-related taxes," the source said.

 

Paterson and Silver told Smith to pick several taxes and fees from that menu that would be approved by his lawmakers and add up to $200 to $300 million in yearly revenue for the MTA, the sources said.

 

The 12 counties that receive MTA service would pay the additional fees, the source said.

 

Other MTA funding ideas like income and gasoline taxes were ruled out, the source said.

 

The automobile fees would be paired with two original bailout proposals, the sources said. That includes an eight-percent fare hike for riders -- much less than Wednesday's 23 percent increase -- and a 33-cent tax on every $100 of a business' payroll.

 

The money would fund new bus service, the MTA's big-ticket projects, and would close the agency's $1.2 billion budget gap.

 

The action in Albany came days after the MTA approved sky-high fare increases that put a single ride at $2.50 and a 30-day MetroCard at $103, sparking an outcry from riders who are already crunched by the economy.

 

MTA officials refused to comment.

 

"We both reject the MTA board action and maybe the action makes it real in people's minds and makes people flexible," Silver said yesterday.

 

He added that he's giving lawmakers "a variety of ways in which they can decide this thing, that we can provide the relief that we've always been committed to providing."

 

Meanwhile, Gov. Paterson indicated yesterday that an income tax hike on high earners could be in the cards in solving the state's overall budget woes.

 

"We are right now on the verge of [state] cuts and service reductions that I would have to describe as life threatening," Paterson. "With situations like that, everything is on the table."

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It's a good idea but you have conflicting priorities here and it's just not good. Our economy needs people to "buy American" when it comes to cars because they are improving the cars, and also that is the "last bastion" of large scale blue collar work. On the other hand I shouldn't have to post on a railfan board the importance of public transit.

 

What they need to do is find a way to tax corporations that are outsourcing jobs and use that money for transit at the federal level and apportion it to transit agencies around the country. Then put a 1% government tax on all "short sales" of stock - selling a stock you don't own to make money when it goes down which hurts the economy - and put that into the transit fund as well. Problem solved.

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...needs people to "buy American" when it comes to cars because they are improving the cars, ...

 

My two Toyotas were both final assembled in the US, with parts from the US, Mexico, Canada and Japan.

 

My last "American" car (Dodge) was final assembled in Mexico with a Japanese drive train and parts from Canada and Mexico.

 

My foreign cars are more "American" than my "American" car (and they work better too).

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