By Philip Newman
It was called the doomsday plan to keep the MTA from plunging into a financial abyss, but it’s two years later and there is talk — nothing official yet — that maybe some of the sorely missed bus and subway routes might be restored.
“Not a day goes by when I don’t think about restoration of services and further investments in the system,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota told the MTA’s monthly board meeting June 27.
“I’m not sure we have the financial stability to bring back all of our services that were cut in 2010, but we’re evaluating right now,” Lhota said.
Lhota said the MTA should avoid restoring some parts of the system and then having to take it out of service once again.
The chairman said if and when the matter of restoring service comes up, “we will discuss it, we will debate it.”
That could come later this month at the board’s monthly meeting.
Among others, board members Allan Cappelli, of Staten Island, and Mitchell Pally, of Suffolk County, L.I., have been talking up the idea of restoration, even if is just a start.
So dire was the MTA’s money plight that it cut 20 local and 12 express bus routes citywide and eliminated the V and W subway lines, among other transit services.
The transit agency faced a budget gap of $900 million at the time.
The subway and bus cuts were followed by massive changes along with layoffs at the MTA. The agency underwent a tremendous consolidation and cutbacks.
The restoration talk brings the question of where the money for it will come from.
For one thing, the MTA plans to put through a 7.5 percent fare increase next year, which is estimated to bring in nearly $500 million a year.
Former Gov. David Paterson, who took over the MTA board seat of resigned member Nancy Shevell, said “the question will be to what extent have we arisen so that perhaps services that were taken way can be restored.”
Paterson also expressed regret that $143 million meant for the MTA was siphoned off to the state general fund during his time in office.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at [email protected] or phone at 718-260-4536.