MTA approves ‘doomsday’ plan for fare hikes, service cuts

MTA approves ‘doomsday’ plan for fare hikes, service cuts
Elliot Sander, MTA executive director and chief operating officer, listens while the MTA Finance Committee votes to raise fares and carry out massive service cuts in face of the agency’s $1.2 billion budget shortfall. Photo by Philip Newman
By Philip Newman

The financially distressed Metropolitan Transportation Authority is now free to carry out the massive service cuts and fare hikes it has talked about for months.

None would be carried out if the New York state legislature comes up with a financial rescue plan.

The MTA board voted Wednesday to go ahead with what has become known as its “doomsday” plan to deal with a $1.2 billion budget gap.

The vote was almost unanimous, with only board member Norman Seabrook of the Bronx dissenting.

In pre-vote discussions, most board members used words such as “painful,” “reluctant” and “shameful,” but nevertheless approved the MTA plan.

But Seabrook said that after transit officials carry out the cuts, “they will have to change their motto, ‘If you see something, say something. It will have be, ‘If you see something, forget it, there’s nobody to report to.’”

The subway and bus fare hikes will come first — on May 31 — with increases on commuter railroads, bridges and tunnels to follow.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at [email protected] or phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

More from Around New York