MTA Board Approves 17B Budget

Earlier today the MTA Board approved a 17 billion dollar budget along with vows to restructure the agency significantly in order to save money. Part of the budget approved called for fare & toll hikes in March although to what extent is not known. Vincent Barone of AMNY has more:

Facing a billion-dollar budget gap through 2021, members of the MTA board on Wednesday vowed to significantly restructure the authority to save money.

The promises came as the board voted to approve a $17 billion budget for 2019 — a budget that slates yet another fare and toll hike in March — even though board members agonized over what they described as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s bloated bureaucracy and misspending.

“This is not going to go on like this — it can’t go on. And I think this board very soon is facing a situation where we are going to have to have massive restructuring of the MTA,” said MTA board member Andrew Saul. “There’s no question about that. You see it coming before us.”

The fare and toll hikes could potentially raise MetroCard rates to $3 and Long Island Rail Road tickets by as much as $15 a month — the sixth such raise since 2009. While the board is scheduled to vote on the details of a fare hike next month, there’s still uncertainty as to whether the increases will actually happen.

Click here for the complete report.

The board approving the budget came at no surprise as they are legally bound to do so. Plus the talk of fare hikes has dominated the local transit news world for quite some time now.

What I found interesting though was the stance of Acting MTA Chairman Fernando Ferrer saying it was too early to discuss potential fare & toll hikes. For starters, the stance is 100% asinine. How can it be too early to discuss such increases when they are slated to happen in under 4 months? Also let us not forget the agency is holding public hearings throughout the region to discuss this very topic.

Besides asinine, his stance comes as being out of touch with reality. This is a sentiment shared towards MTA Board members as a whole who many feel are not in touch with the every day rider & what they go through dealing with the much maligned system.

I do agree with the board that the rules need to be changed so their fiscal year aligns with the rest of the city & state to better help determine actual numbers in terms of what can be expected versus projections which can be way off in both good & bad ways.

In the end, the city & state need to come up with better funding solutions along with the agency continuing to restructure itself to a point that not a dollar gets wasted. Now is this realistic? Considering the sides involved, ABSOLUTELY NOT!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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