Green light for fare hike
Despite the empty wallets of city straphangers, the MTA board intends to OK unprecedented fare hikes and service cuts Wednesday.
It's really unbelievable that they are going to do this, said Xxendraa McQueen, 25, of Far Rockaway. How are people going to travel?
State lawmakers failed to come through with a bailout for the MTA's $1.2 billion deficit, leaving the agency with little choice but implement its doomsday plan:
Fare hikes of at least 23 percent beginning June.
Eliminating and reducing service on six subway lines
Twenty percent more crowded trains.
Axing 3,000 jobs through layoffs and attrition.
The plan is all but guaranteed to pass Wednesday, as only one out of the 17 voting board members has expressed intent to descent.I don't even know how I'm going to make it, said Wanda Gordon, 58, a postal clerk from the Bronx.
More than 2,300 straphangers wrote to Albany leaders to pass a package of new funding for the agency. Today, transportation advocates are holding a mock MTA Call-A-Thon in Union Square today to flood Albany with angry calls.
Assembly Democrats and Gov. David Paterson supported a proposal for bridge tolls, a payroll tax and an 8 percent fare increase, but the Senate Democrats couldn't muster enough votes.
On Tuesday, Albany leaders were working furiously on the state budget, not the MTA. And its unlikely theyll return to the bailout until the budget is passed in the coming weeks.
The vortex of the state budget has taken over, said Gene Russianoff, of the Straphangers Campaign, who met with Albany leaders yesterday.
The MTA could reverse the hikes and cuts within a week or so if the state comes through with new cash for the agency. But negotiating a compromise bailout is looking like a long, painful process, Russianoff said.
It will be weeks, to months, to never, he said.
Melinda Hsia contributed to this story