Gov. Patterson Criticizes The MTA’s Plan To Raise Fares

New York State Governor David Patterson openly criticized the MTA’s plan to implement substantial fare hikes. What their exact plans are won’t be known until later this morning when their financial plan is released (more on that in the next entry). Here is the report from Jeremy W. Peters, Fernanda Santos & Sewell Chan of the New York Times:

Gov. David A. Paterson on Tuesday sternly criticized the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s proposal to increase subway, bus and commuter rail fares and called on the authority to take a second look at its finances before it formally asks for an increase. However, Mr. Paterson did not say whether he would support the authority’s plea for more operating aid from the state.

Speaking to reporters after a news conference here on moderately priced housing, Mr. Paterson said that now was not the time to ask commuters, who are already feeling pinched by a rate increase earlier this year, to pay more to use the city’s transit system, bridges and tunnels.

“Another fare hike this soon after the last fare hike, just in my opinion, is not wise,” he said. “This just cannot become the new way that the M.T.A. solves problems. Every time there is an issue, pass along the increase.”

He added: “Let’s explore other options.”

If the authority gets permission from its board to raise fares, it will be only the second time in its history that it has raised fares in consecutive years. The last time that happened was in 1980 and 1981.

The amount of the increase has not been determined. But if the board agrees to it, fares will rise again next summer.

The authority is facing an increasingly grim financial outlook. Rising fuel costs have caused its operating costs to soar, and revenue from real estate taxes — a major source of the authority’s revenue — are declining as the housing market falters.

Its budget gap for 2009 now stands at $900 million and is only getting bigger. Just six months ago, the authority projected a deficit of only $200 million.

Mr. Paterson said he asked the authority to re-examine its financial situation and report back to him. “What I am asking the M.T.A. is to go back and take another look at their books.”

Click here to read the entire report.

I’ve already discussed my current point of view on the possibility of fare hikes. However I must call attention to the comments left on the above article. Just about all of them are blaming the potential fare hikes on the MTA which is what I said many would do. As I said there, they should point the finger of blame at the elected officials before getting to the MTA.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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