Wednesday, July 23, 2008

MTA wants us to open our wallets wider

Just months after straphangers were hit with a fare hike, the MTA is considering another increase, as subway delays spike as well.

In addition to subways and buses, a price hike would affect the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North, as well as bridges and tunnels.


MTA looking to raise fares again

The MTA says it needs to close a budget gap of nearly $900-million.

According to reports on the MTA's new budget plan, the agency wants to boost revenue on fares and tolls by 8 percent.

The last increase hit riders and drivers this past March, and another wasn't expected until early 2010. If the MTA board approves the new plan, the hike would go into effect next July.

13 comments:

Ridgewoodian said...

Congestion pricing would have provided about $300 million of that $900 million. THANKS Albany. (I hope that everyone who wrote their Assemblymen opposing it will write again demanding the State cough up the money now.)

Anonymous said...

Europe takes care of their Subways unlike NYC who lets it crumble.Cant wait for the crap folks to say its the MTA's fault.The city ditched the MTA 50 years ago.TRy to find one as dirty and falling apart as the NYC subway system?? Bet you cant.The city owes the MTA millions of dollars as of this year.

Anonymous said...

The problem is the mismanagement of the MTA; they waste millions of dollars. Throwing more money at them would not have been the solution. It just would have given them more money to mess with.

Anonymous said...

They are going to get the money one way or another - only difference is now its coming directly out of your wallet. Would have been much better with congestion pricing.

CJ said...

Yes, and with congestion pricing it would have come out of somebody else's wallet. Is this fair and equitable taxation when gasoline taxes are already used to suppose to the infrastructure?

Anonymous said...

Where do you think the startup costs for congestion pricing were going to come for? And to keep it running it would have cost 2/3 of the collection fees. A bad plan financially all around.

Anonymous said...

The MTA, as well as all city agencies need to manage their budgets more efficiently. There is so much waste and inefficiency in government and no one ever addresses it. It is also believed that the MTA has two sets of books. Their own Executive Board were getting free EZ passes, as well as free Metro Cards for their families. They have luxurious offices and expensive artwork on their walls. Government needs to hire an independent auditor to see how much money the agency really has and how much it really needs. Cut out all their perks and reevaluate ridership vs travel routes and put the transportation where it is needed. While they have the auditor, examine ALL city budgets for waste and inefficiency. Raising the fare again and balancing the budget on the backs of already over-taxed citizens is outrageous. People need to get to work, so they can earn a living.

Anonymous said...

We would have recieved federal money as well.

Anonymous said...

Congestion pricing would have been a good way to get federal funds, but it would have been a one-shot deal. After the initial payoff from the federal government, we would have been on our own. The price to drive into Manhattan would continue to increase everytime money was needed -- just like the MTA is doing to us now. What would start out as $8 to get into Manhattan would rise again and again, so that the outer boroughs wouldn't have any access by car. Taxpayers are being punished because Congestion Pricing did not go into effect.

Forest Hills 72 said...

Ridgewoodian, This deficit is from normal operating costs. The Congestion Pricing monies were supposed to go to new equipment and routes. The worst kept secret in the world is that the CP money would really just just be plugged into the deficit. That's one of the reasons I'm against it. Also because it's a crock of shit to say that Manhattan's children are more important than the 6.7 million outer borough children whose neighborhoods would see an increase in traffic/pollution.

Don't believe anything you read about Congestion Pricing or the MTA. How many billions do they have to blow for you to realize they cannot handle money.

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for a comparison of a Subway system from another country falling apart as bad the one in NYC.Japan has wonderful trains that are always being upgraded, as well as Germany, France,and London.But then again they dont have bridges falling apart and tons of potholes all over with divide and conquer local politics,pitting private against public.

Anonymous said...

Yes Forest Hills 72. Let's starve them of money. Once they start to take trains out of service due to disrepair and shut down subway lines they will know we mean business. I'm all for being accountable, but cutting off the cash is nto going to get that done.

Ridgewoodian said...

ANONYMOUS: Still waiting for a comparison of a Subway system from another country falling apart as bad the one in NYC.

The Roman subways were a little seedy…But point well taken.

CJ: …with congestion pricing it would have come out of somebody else's wallet. Is this fair and equitable taxation when gasoline taxes are already used to suppose to the infrastructure?

Yes. Because it’s not a tax. It’s a fee to use a limited and valuable resource, just as subway fares are not a tax. It’s insane to think that that resource SHOULD be free. You don’t want to pay $8 to enter parts of Manhattan during certain hours of certain days? I don’t want to pay the $81 a month or $2 a ride that it costs me to use the subways or buses at any time, regardless of destination. But no one but Theodore Kheel is advocating for free transit. (I’m not sure if I agree with him, but it’s an interesting idea.)

It’s also fair because financial incentives are often used to discourage social evils. And driving in New York needs to be discouraged.

ANONYMOUS: Where do you think the startup costs for congestion pricing were going to come for? And to keep it running it would have cost 2/3 of the collection fees.

Well, there would have been about $300 million from the Federal government for startup costs. As to it costing 2/3 of the collected fees (which would be $200-$300 million a year): I’ve never seen that figure anywhere and it seems much, much too high. I’d like to see a creditable source for it. And even if it DID cost that much, that would still leave $100-$150 million a year for city use.

ANONYMOUS: The MTA, as well as all city agencies need to manage their budgets more efficiently.

The MTA is actually a creature of the STATE and is run as a public benefit corporation. The subways and buses apparently haven’t been under the direct control of the City since 1953.

I’m not going to argue against their managing their budgets efficiently, of course. But no transit system operates in the black. It would be silly to expect the MTA to. Would you expect the police or the fire departments to be moneymakers? Actually, the MTA is relatively efficient: close to 70% of its operational costs are paid at the farebox. That’s far more than any other transit system in the U.S. The problem is paying the other 30%, and the capital budget. In order for the budgets to be managed well there has to be predictability of income, which has been lacking for years. What it comes down to is the question of Who Pays for the System? I think the obvious answer is “Those who benefit from it.” The ridership already pays its fair share. Since business would be impossible in the city without mass transit, perhaps there should be a modest business tax. Since the city is the economic powerhouse of the state – let’s face it, it basically supports the state – Albany should kick in some money. And since the city is also indispensable to the nation as a whole the Federal government should kick in some as well. Congestion pricing certainly has a place in this scheme. Anyway, for those who are interested, there’s an interesting discussion of these issues from actual experts at the Regional Planning Association HERE.

FOREST HILLS 72: Don't believe anything you read about Congestion Pricing or the MTA. How many billions do they have to blow for you to realize they cannot handle money.

Well, if true, then the MTA needs to be reformed. I don’t doubt that. I don’t care about the MTA per se. I say blast the MTA to atoms. But there are subways, trains, and buses that need to be run. Some entity has to do that. That entity has to be funded properly. Whether we call that entity the MTA or something else is immaterial. How it’s organized is a slightly more interesting question. But the main thing is that it be set up to do the job. Nihilism doesn’t help.