MTA Unveils Financial Plan: Less Service, More $$$. NYS Legislature at Fault.

Riders and drivers will face higher fares and tolls beginning in January 2011.  This fare and toll increase comes on the heels of severe service cuts, layoffs and reductions in core services.  Why is this happening?  In May 2009, the Legislature approved a plan to address the MTA’s finances.  That plan was envisioned as a three legged stool, with each beneficiary of the MTA network – riders, businesses and drivers, contributing to the MTA’s financial stability. 

Unfortunately, the Governor and the State Legislature have not kept to their end of the bargain. The Governor and the Legislature reappropriated $143 million of dedicated taxes earmarked for the MTA. To make matters worse tax revenues have been lower than anticipated, the net result is a painful reduction in funding resulting in severe cuts in service.

On top of all this, Albany only came up with two years of funding for the MTA’s capital plan not the five they were supposed to provide. While taxpayers, commuters, motorists, businesses and the MTA have done their part, the Governor and legislature have failed to hold up their end of the bargain.

The MTA has slashed administrative staff, consolidated operations, reduced expenses and renegotiated with vendors to lower costs.  The MTA has held up their end of the deal.  Now the legislature needs to figure out how to meet their end of the bargain. The MTA requires a stable source of funding moving forward.  The ability to continue to maintain and repair the MTA’s infrastructure is at risk.  We cannot afford to bond any more to fund this capital plan.  The responsibility is on Albany to come up with a financing plan that works.