MTA plans Monday vote on fare hikes, service cuts

MTA plans Monday vote on fare hikes, service cuts
The MTA is expected to approve a controversial plan for new fare hikes at a meeting Monday.
By Philip Newman

A Metropolitan Transportation Authority committee is set to vote Monday to approve what has been called a doomsday plan of severe service cuts and fare hikes for Queens and the rest of the city.

The full MTA board would then give final approval Wednesday unless the New York State Legislature comes up with an acceptable funding plan in the meantime.

Gov. David Paterson as well as many elected officials, transit activists and business leaders condemned as inadequate the plan put forth Tuesday by the state Senate.

The plan, made necessary because the MTA has a $1.28 billion budget gap,  was scheduled for a vote by the MTA Finance Committee Monday.

The move would raise the cost of a single ride from $2 to $2.50, a monthly MetroCard from $81 to $103 and a weekly MetroCard from $6 to  $31.

Bus and subway service would be heavily diminished with the end of two complete subway lines serving Queens —  the W and Z —  and 21 local bus lines citywide as well as the shortening  of others. There would also be longer waits on both buses and subways along with the near shutdown  of overnight service on many bus and subway lines.

The fare increases are set to begin June 1.

Some MTA  board members said they still had hopes the Legislature would come up with a financial rescue that officials felt was practical.

The Ravitch Commission had recommended a plan that involved the Legislature enacting tolls on 13 East River and  Harlem River bridges  and a payroll tax in 12 counties served by the MTA.

The state Assembly appeared ready to approve the two recommendations,  but at least five Democratic members of the Senate declared themselves opposed to the tolls. Thus,  no vote  has been taken, although discussions in Albany continue.

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