The State Senate Majority’s Hudson Valley Delegation today called upon Governor Eliot Spitzer to reject any increase in the cost of the MTA’s Metro-North commuter fares or tolls for MTA bridges and Tunnels.
At a press conference in New York City today the Governor announced that the MTA would drop its plans to impose an increase in basic subway and bus fares, but he failed to rule out such an increase in the cost of Metro-North service, monthly subway commuter passes, or tolls on MTA bridges and tunnels.
Senator Tom Morahan (R-C, New City) said, "Today’s announcement doesn’t change the fact that the MTA’s plan is still bad news for the people of the 38th Senate District, and bad news for the Hudson Valley as a whole. Instead of imposing new burdens on hardworking commuters, the MTA Board should direct all of its energy toward improving services and finding administrative savings."
Senator William J. Larkin (R-C, Cornwall on Hudson) said, "With gas prices skyrocketing, this is clearly not the time to impose fare increases that will discourage the use of mass transit. Governor Spitzer’s decision to stop the base subway fare increase will do nothing to help the thousands of Hudson Valley commuters who rely on Metro-North each day. Until the Governor speaks out on behalf of Hudson Valley residents, the Senate Majority will continue its fight against the MTA’s plan."
Senator Steve Saland (R-C, Poughkeepsie) said, "The reality is that today’s announcement will do nothing to assist our efforts to keep Metro-North affordable for Hudson Valley commuters. As a result, we will continue our efforts to encourage the Governor and the MTA to consider fiscally prudent alternatives to raising commuter fares and tolls."
Senator Vincent Leibell (R-C-I, Patterson) said, "We shouldn’t be balancing the MTA’s budget on the backs of Hudson Valley commuters. The MTA’s unjustified and unnecessary plan would impose significant new financial burdens on many of my constituents, and I will continue my efforts to have it withdrawn."
Senator John Bonacic (R-C-I, Mount Hope) said, "The MTA fare hike is nothing more than a tax hike. People in the Hudson Valley are overtaxed and underserved by the MTA. Hardworking taxpayers need relief, not toll and fare hikes."
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 percent of the Authority’s own "modest" administrative savings target for 2006.
Last month, the Hudson Valley delegation sent a letter to MTA Chairman H. Dale Hemmerdinger and urged for the withdrawal of the "MTA’s fare and toll proposal from the Board of Directors’ agenda as quickly as possible." The Senate Majority’s Long Island and New York City delegations also sent similar letters asking for the fare increase plan to be withdrawn.