MTA advances painful fair hike
By Heather Haddon
The MTA approved a schedule of drastic fare hikes Monday while pleading with Albany lawmakers to act fast on a bailout package that could spare straphangers.
Its a sad day for the MTA, said Andrew Saul, chair of the MTAs finance committee, which approved the resolution before moving it on to the full board for a vote Wednesday.
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. Subway and bus riders will suffer through increases of at least 23 percent, with travelers on some commuter rail lines having to endure a hike of up to 70 percent.
Paying 20 more dollars per month, 12 months a year is not negligible, said Matt Siegel, 27, of the East Village.
During the weekend, Albany leaders made little progress in finding new cash to relieve the agency's $1.2 billion debt.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