Coming soon: the $103 MetroCard
Few thought it would come to this, but an MTA committee Monday is poised to consider drastic fare hikes and service cuts that could be avoided only if a controversial bailout package ever gets out of Albany.
Under the MTA plan, a cost of a single ride would rise to $2.50 and a monthly pass would jump by $22 to $103 in June. During the weekend, Albany leaders made little progress in finding new cash to relieve the agency's $1.2 billion debt.
After the MTA finance committee meets Monday, the full board is set to approve the cuts and hikes on Wednesday. The board could still tinker with the fare-hike structure before that.
It's the best of a terrible bunch of options, said Andrew Albert, a nonvoting board member representing riders, who yesterday seemed resigned to the coming pain.
Paying 20 more dollars per month, 12 months a year is not negligible, said Matt Siegel, 27, of the East Village.In Albany, sources said top staffers met yesterday to discuss the bailout logjam, and the leadership is expected to caucus Monday.
Gov. David Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and a broad coalition of advocates want to implement bridge tolls, a .33 percent payroll tax and 8 percent fare hike to help the agency. But Senate Democrats are continuing to cling to their plan that would eliminate the tolls and reduce the payroll tax and fare increase.
The alternative proposal was widely panned last week as slapdash and reliant on fuzzy math.
Senate Democrats have not scheduled any conferences on MTA funding this week, and negotiations will be held on an as-needed basis, said Austin Shafran, a spokesman for State Senator Malcolm Smith.
(Andrew Breiner contributed to this report.)
The MTA is likely to approve a fare increase of at least 23 percent this week:
Single ride: $2.50
1-day MetroCard: $9.50