Senator Golden And Senate Colleagues Urge MTA To Withdraw Fare Increase Plan

 

New York City’s New York State Senate Majority Delegation are urging the Metropolitan Transportation Authority ("MTA") to withdraw its plan to raise fares and tolls in 2008, 2010 and every two years thereafter.

As signed by Senators Frank Padavan, Serphin Maltese, Martin Golden, and Andrew Lanza, the Delegation sent a letter to the MTA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Elliot G. Sander requesting that the MTA, "withdraw the fare and toll proposal from the Board of Directors’ agenda." The Senate Majority's Long Island Delegation also recently sent a similar letter to the MTA asking for a withdrawal of the fare increase plan.

Senator Marty Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), said, "Enough is enough. Let’s focus on improving service this year instead of raising fares and tolls. New Yorkers have been forced to face fare hikes too often and now is not the right time to impose yet another increase. New Yorkers have become frustrated by what seems to be the constant talk of fare hikes by the M.T.A. Attempts to increase the fares for our buses and subways, for our bridges and tunnels, especially the Verrazano Bridge, is misguided and bad public policy. How can we now say what the fares should be in 2008, 2010 and every two years thereafter, if we have not reviewed budgets and have not calculated needs."

According to the MTA’s July Financial Plan, the Authority forecasts a record $960 million surplus this year, with an expected surplus of $377 million in 2008. While the MTA has acknowledged that fare and toll increases are not required to balance its budget next year, it has proposed a 6.5% revenue increase. The proposed fare and toll increases would reduce the discount provided to purchasers of monthly Metrocards. In fact, the MTA could raise the cost of a 30-day unlimited ride by over 9%, from $76.00 to $81.00 and increase the base fare for a single ride from $2.00 to $2.25. The plan also includes biannual fare increases beginning in 2010.

In addition, the MTA also plans to increase toll charges at its bridges and tunnels, including the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Henry Hudson Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, Queens Midtown Tunnel, Throgs Neck Bridge, Triborough Bridge, the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge.

On August 27, 2007, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued a report labeling the MTA’s fare increase plan "premature" and noted that the MTA achieved only 41% of the Authority’s own "modest" administrative savings target for 2006.

The MTA’s Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on the fare and toll increase plan at its December meeting. The New York City Senate Majority Delegation is encouraging commuters to submit their comments on the proposed fare increase through the MTA’s website (www.mta.info) or to attend the MTA’s public hearings in New York City on any of the following dates and times:

· November 5th, 6pm – Brooklyn
Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge (Grand Ballroom) Brooklyn

Members of the New York City Senate Majority Delegation, including Senator Marty Golden, will be distributing petitions opposing the MTA’s fare increases at local train/subway/bus stations and posting online petitions on their websites.

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