Hold on to your pocketbooks and wallets, the MTA is coming and they want your last nickel. Again. With a stark reminder of what a lousy deal the 2009 MTA Bailout Plan is, Newsday reported this morning a detailed plan to increase fares for both the MTA and LIRR ridership.
According to the story, in January, LIRR riders could be paying up to 9.4 percent more for their tickets and be forced to use these tickets right away or lose them forever. The MTA will release later today a plan to impose hikes it says are necessary to start eliminating a $900-million deficit and helping to balance its budget this year and next.
It was reported in the story that, “As part of the broad MTA-wide fare hike, LIRR tickets would rise 7.6 percent to 9.4 percent, depending upon the time and distance of a rider's trip. The railroad, in addition, is looking to significantly shorten the time span for which some tickets remain valid and to hike fees for onboard transactions.”
When I voted against the $2.2 billion MTA bailout plan and the horrific MTA payroll tax in May of 2009, I said it was a massive new unfunded mandate that will drive up property taxes, increase taxes on businesses and cause the loss of jobs throughout the MTA region. The plan did little to reform the bloated and wasteful spending of the MTA that leads to fare increases.
The MTA financial mismanagement is legendary. The taxpayers and ridership are paying a steep price for the MTA’s perpetual fiscal failures. Enough is enough. That is why I am again calling for the passage of my legislation, S.6645, which would create a MTA Interim Control Authority. The bill would create a seven member, non-partisan financial control board to monitor, oversee and control the MTA’s finances during a set period.
We have given the MTA every chance to get their books in order. They have failed, repeatedly. We need a new, more decisive approach. We cannot afford to wait for the next service cut, the next fare hike or the next payroll tax to come along. We must pass my bill now.
What do you think? As always I would appreciate hearing from you.