Lawmakers Look for a Bridge Tolls Pitch
Wary state legislators urged the MTA and other transportation officials to help them convince colleagues and constituents that a package of taxes and bridge tolls need to be enacted to stave off the worst of the subway and bus fare hike.
Several of my colleagues ... say they cannot vote for these recommendations, state Sen. Martin MalavÃ© Dilan (D-Brooklyn), said yesterday during the first public hearing on the Ravitch Commission proposals. Who is responsible for selling this plan?
Facing a $1.2 billion budget gap this year, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering a fare increase of 23 percent. If Albany approves of the commissions revenue-raising proposal by March 25, the hike may result in an 8 percent increase only.Everybody is benefiting from this system and everybody has to contribute to it, former MTA Chairman Ravitch said, pointing out that nearly 85 percent of commuters to Manhattan use public transportation.
The commission is proposing to:
raise $1.5 billion by taxing state payrolls by percent. The money would eliminate the MTAs deficit this year and contribute to the agencys capital plan.
net $600 million by tolling the free bridges across the East and Harlem rivers. The money would pay for a regional bus system and the citys bridge maintenance costs.
State senators said they would need more ammunition in convincing outer borough residents to accept the bridge tolls.
MTA CEO Elliot Sander reiterated yesterday that the package must be passed as a whole, but said the MTA would be open to variable-rate tolling.
Senators hold another commission hearing in Harlem today.
A bill on the proposal is expected to come out of Patersons office in the coming weeks.