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Transit

MTA hearings on fare, toll hikes begin this week in Manhattan

The transit authority's bad news tour includes stops in all five boroughs, Westchester and west of the Hudson.

The MTA is hosting a series of public

The MTA is hosting a series of public hearings regarding the proposals to raise fares and tolls. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

The MTA’s bad news tour kicked off on Tuesday.

The transit authority has begun hosting public hearings around the city to get feedback on the two options for the next round of fare and toll hikes that could take effect in March 2019 — the sixth such increase since 2009.

Riders appear especially unwilling to shoulder another fare hike this time around — a coalition of advocacy groups has already protested the idea — as the stakes couldn’t be higher.

“The fundamental problem is that the MTA desperately needs new sustainable, affordable, adequate revenue streams,” said NYC Transit President Andy Byford during an appearance on the NPR "Brian Lehrer Show" last week.

The MTA is in the middle of a budget crisis, as subway and bus service sputters amid a mix of underinvestment and bad management, according to advocates and experts. Without the impending hikes, as well as several new recurring revenue sources, the MTA would be forced to slash already woeful service on subways and bus routes, former MTA chairman Joe Lhota had warned. Byford said he’s fought “draconian” service-cut proposals that could spur a death spiral at the MTA.

“I will not preside over draconian cuts in service, which is exactly the wrong thing to do just as we’re trying to get people back onto transit,” Byford continued. “I also think it’s unreasonable to double-whammy New Yorkers with fare hikes and service cuts because then you’re paying more with less. There’s no way we can go down that road.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who oversees the state-controlled MTA, said he, too, opposes fare hikes. Advocates want the governor and state lawmakers to find new funding — through taxes and congestion pricing — to stave off the hikes.

Ultimately, the MTA’s board will have the final say. Board members are expected to vote on the fare increases next month, and decide just how to carry out those increases.

Right now, the MTA is facing a projected $1 billion budget deficit by 2022. The board is considering two proposals for hikes to help close that gap: One would keep the $2.75 subway and bus fare but eliminate the cash bonus on MetroCards, while a second would raise base fares to $3 with a larger, 10 percent cash bonus.

Public hearings are scheduled in in each borough, as well as on Long Island, in Westchester and west of the Hudson River. Attendees can register to speak online.

Tuesday, 11/27/18

Manhattan

Registration Period: 4-8 p.m.

Hearing begins 5 p.m.

Baruch College – Mason Hall

17 Lexington Avenue (Enter on 23rd Street)

Thursday, 11/29/18

Bronx

Registration Period: 4-8 p.m.

Hearing begins 5 p.m.

Hostos Community College

Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture

Main Theater

450 Grand Concourse at 149th Street

Thursday, 11/29/18

Melville, Long Island

Registration Period: 4:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Hearing begins 5:30 p.m.

Hilton Long Island, Grand Ballroom

598 Broad Hollow Rd.

Monday, 12/3/18

Staten Island

Registration Period: 4:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Hearing begins 5:30 p.m.

College of Staten Island Center for the Arts Springer Concert Hall, Building 1P

2800 Victory Blvd.

Wednesday, 12/5/18

Westchester

Registration Period: 4-8 p.m.

Hearing begins 5 p.m.

New York Power Authority, Jaguar Room

123 Main St, White Plains (Enter on Hamilton Avenue)

Monday, 12/10/18

Brooklyn

Registration Period: 4-8 p.m.

Hearing begins 5 p.m.

Long Island University Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts

Arnold & Marie Schwartz Hall, One University Plaza

Flatbush Avenue, between Dekalb Avenue and Willoughby Street

Tuesday, 12/11/18

Queens

Registration Period: 4-8 p.m.

Hearing begins 5 p.m.

York College Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center

Main Stage Theater

95-45 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Jamaic

Thursday, 12/13/18

West of Hudson

Registration Period: 4:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Hearing begins 5:30 p.m.

Palisades Center, Adler Community Room, 4th floor, near the ice rink

1000 Palisades Center Dr., West Nyack

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