Gov. Spitzer Says Not So Fast…..

Well he didn’t actually say that but you get the point. In today’s AMNY, the front page headline is about Gov. Spitzer challenging state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s report on the MTA’s proposed fare hike. One of Gov. Spitzer’s comments included “So simply saying, Aha! We got congestion pricing, therefore, no fare increase: bad logic, bad facts”

Here is the full article courtesy of AMNY:

Gov. Eliot Spitzer challenged a report by the state comptroller that argues the MTA hasn’t done enough to save commuters from a fare hike.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli told the MTA to hold off on a fare hike decision until next year, when the agency could net more money from the state and a possible congestion-pricing plan.

Even though congestion pricing could net $350 million in federal funds, the governor said it’s not “meaningful” enough to cover the operating, capital and deficit costs the MTA is facing in coming years.

“So simply saying, Aha! We got congestion pricing, therefore, no fare increase: bad logic, bad facts,” Spitzer said in a statement. He did say whether he supports or would fight a hike.

According to DiNapoli, the MTA has not done enough to hit up the state and other funding sources before tapping into commuters’ wallets.

“We’re really calling on the MTA to put commuters first,” DiNapoli said.

Spitzer and DiNapoli have a complicated past. Spitzer fought the Legislature on appointing DiNapoli as comptroller, calling him “thoroughly and totally unqualified.”

The MTA’s board will vote on the proposed hike in December, just before Spitzer releases a state budget that could hold more money for mass transit, DiNapoli’s report said. The comptroller said he believes the state wants to “step up to the plate.

The MTA could also trim down internal costs beyond the 1.5 percent its currently planning on cutting, DiNapoli said. Last year, the MTA came up short on plans to reduce administrative costs, the report said.

Last month the MTA proposed fare increases for both 2008 and 2010, although it’s uncertain how much higher fares would go.

But the first increase is expected to net an additional 6.5 percent for the agency in fare and toll revenues. While the MTA is expected to end this year with a $300 million surplus, the agency said yesterday it will face $6 billion in deficits the next four years. The authority is continuing to look at how it could streamline operations, a spokesman said.

When the MTA proposed the fare increase, the agency already factored in a significant increase in funding from the state and the city. A fare increase is part of a financial plan that keeps service on track as well as funds projects that help the system respond to the city’s growing population, spokesman said.

“Deferring the proposed 2008 fare and toll increase will only lead to more drastic increases and unacceptable service cuts in 2009,” MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin said.

While I think the straphangers will get the screw job with the fare hike, the battles up until judgment day should prove to be quite interesting.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider to leave a comment or subscribe to the feed and get future articles delivered to your feed reader.


No comments yet.

Leave a comment