Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R-Syosset) testified today at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority ("MTA") hearing urging them to withdraw their plan to raise fares and tolls in 2008, 2010 and every two years thereafter.
"The bottom line is the MTA has once again turned its back on its fundamental responsibility of providing safe, convenient, and user friendly service and decided instead to line their pockets with the hard earned cash of middle class commuters. At a time when we could be reducing air and noise pollution through the use of mass transit, it is wrong that the MTA puts forth an unfair and unjustifiable fare increase. It is time to de-rail this train wreck of a plan," said Senator Marcellino
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% fare and toll yield increase that would raise Long Island Rail Road ("LIRR") fares by up to 8% over last year. The plan also includes biannual fare increases beginning in 2010. In addition, the MTA has suggested it will reduce the discount provided to purchasers of monthly LIRR passes and Metrocards.
Since 1995, LIRR fares have risen by 42%. During that same period, the MTA’s introduction of the Metrocard has actually lowered the average subway fare by 11%.
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.
"These new fare increases are unnecessary and they will only add to the unfair burden borne by Long Island commuters. It is essential that LIRR service be affordable," concluded Senator Marcellino.