Hudson Valley Senators Express Opposition To Proposed MTA Fare/Toll Hikes

Thomas P. Morahan

October 25, 2007

Five Hudson Valley State Senators signed a letter stating their strong opposition to the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) plans to substantially increase fares and tolls.

In a joint letter to MTA Chairman H. Dale Hemmerdinger, Senator Thomas Morahan, Senator John Bonacic, Senator William Larkin, Senator Vincent Leibell, and Senator Stephen Saland expressed their opposition to the increases. Chairman Hemmerdinger was confirmed by the Senate during the Special Legislative Session held on October 22, 2007.

"At a time when reports have surfaced projecting a significant budget surplus at the M.T.A., an agency, which in past years, has traditionally underestimated revenues and overestimated deficits, it is important that MTA Chairman Hemmerdinger ask his MTA Board colleagues to revisit planned fare hikes. Already financially strapped with high taxes, the hardworking commuters of the Hudson Valley do not need an additional financial burden," said Senator Morahan.

Highlighted in their letter to Chairman Hemmerdinger was the New York State Comptroller’s analysis, which concluded that the MTA is now forecasting a positive year-end cash balance of almost $1 billion, and that a fare hike would not be necessary to balance the Authority’s 2008 budget. The Hudson Valley Senators pointed out the fact that, according to the Daily News, the new MTA data released this week shows that fare and toll revenues are up $49 million.

"Increases in transit fares and tolls places an increasing financial burden on the thousands of Hudson Valley commuters my colleagues and I represent who regularly use Metro-North rail service, MTA buses, bridges and tunnels, stated Senator Bonacic."It’s time for the new Chairman to get right to work, look at the data, and thwart the MTA Board’s fare hike proposal," continued Senator Bonacic.

"Keeping Metro-North affordable is essential to Hudson Valley commuters. Raising fares should be a last resort. I implore the MTA administration to consider the financial burden a fare hike has on the average daily commuter and to pursue fiscally prudent measures as an alternative to raising fares," stated Senator Saland.

"I look forward to hearing from Chairman Hemmerdinger regarding this issue and am hopeful for a sensible decision that will not include a fare or toll hike for our hardworking Hudson Valley commuters,"concluded Bonacic.

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