Angry New Yorker

Monday, October 25, 2004
Does this suprise anyone? From today's

City Transit In Financial Crisis, Watchdogs Say

OCTOBER 25TH, 2004

New York City’s mass transit system is in crisis, according to a group of transportation and economic leaders.

In a letter to Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, five leaders, including the heads of the Straphangers Campaign and the Transport Workers Union, called the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s budget deficits a “potential disaster.” They are urging the state and city to provide more aid. [ed. note -- where does this magical "aid" come from, Mr. Russianoff? The transit tooth fairy? ]

“In the long run,” said Gene Russianoff, the head of the Straphangers Campaign, “the only answer is for Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg to devise a plan. Otherwise, we’re talking about a fare hike in 2005 and 2006 in 2007, coupled with service cuts. And that’s intolerable.”

Bloomberg, however, has said that the city cannot afford to boost its subsidies and that the MTA has to run more efficiently with the money it has.

Next year, the MTA is planning to raise the prices of unlimited-ride MetroCards, commuter rail tickets, bridge and tunnel tolls and express buses to reduce a steep shortfall. (The base fare of $2 would remain the same.) And more increases could come in 2006.

“If they’re going to be increasing fares, they probably shouldn’t be cutting service,” said one straphanger. “I don’t know how the budget works, but hopefully they can budget better.”

* * *

At a committee meeting Monday, MTA board members weighed two options for next year, raising fares a lot (including boosting the price of monthly MetroCards from $70 to $84 ) or smaller hikes ($76 monthly cards) with service cuts.

“It just seems to me that if we’re going to go to our riding public and say to them we’re going to raise your fare, and while we raise it, we’re going to cut your service, you’re looking for problems that need not exist in the year 2005,” said Barry Feinstein, an influential board member.

Public hearings will be held next week on the fare hikes proposed for next year.

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