Ravitch Commission Plan Is Finally Here

Let me first apologize on two fronts. The first is for getting the date wrong in which they were going to unveil the report. This must have been a recent change as the date reference was always Friday, December 5th. The second thing is for not getting this up sooner. I have been extremely busy with some business matters. Anyhow, let me not digress any further as the long awaited day is finally upon us…..

Earlier this morning, the head of the Ravitch Commission, Richard Ravitch unveiled the commission’s rescue plan for the MTA. The proposals in the plan are supposed to help the MTA fund capital projects and operating needs over the next ten years.

Sewell Chan & William Neuman of the New York Times have more on today’s proceedings:

A state commission led by Richard Ravitch, a former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, presented a wide-ranging rescue plan on Thursday for the region’s subways, buses and commuter railroads that includes a new “mobility tax” on payrolls in the region; tolls on the free East River and Harlem River bridges; a much smaller fare and toll increase than the cash-strapped authority has threatened; few service reductions; and improvements in bus service.

The plan — presented in a 19-page report [pdf] — would permit automatic, inflation-adjusted fare and toll increases every two years without public hearings, ending what Mr. Ravitch called a cyclical “political circus.” The plan would allow for a state takeover of the city-owned Harlem River and East River bridges, which have historically been free to drivers. The new tolls would be collected electronically, without toll booths.

The regional mobility tax — 33 cents on every $100 of payroll — would provide $1.5 billion a year, and the tolls would produce $600 million in net revenue a year ($1 billion a year in gross revenue minus expenses), Mr. Ravitch said. The new revenue streams would help finance borrowing for a $30 billion-to-$35 billion M.T.A. capital plan for 2010 to 2014 that would help stimulate the economy while maintaining vital infrastructure.

“This is a major stimulus bill to New York State,” Mr. Ravitch said at a morning news conference at the governor’s office in Midtown Manhattan. “The number of projects being canceled and terminated as a result of inadequate financing,” he said, is “adding enormously to all the other problems this financial crisis has imposed on everybody.”

Gov. David A. Paterson and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined Mr. Ravitch for the announcement, and broadly endorsed his recommendations. Their support means that the plan now lies in the hands of the State Legislature, where support is far from certain.

Mr. Ravitch warned that there was currently “not one hard dollar” for the M.T.A.’s next five-year capital plan, which is to extend from 2010 and 2014 and could cost as much as $14 billion.

Click here for the complete article.

Click here to download or view the entire Ravitch Commission report.

I commented on some of proposals last night. As of this moment I am still tied up with a number of things. However I plan to sit down & read the entire report & provide my opinion of it to go along with my previous statements.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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