Home / Business / The MTA's board of directors decides to raise rates, despite the governor's commitment: Gothamist

The MTA's board of directors decides to raise rates, despite the governor's commitment: Gothamist

MTA board members voted Wednesday to further increase subway fares, bringing the MetroCard's weekly price to $ 33 and bringing the monthly fee to $ 127, instead of $ 121. The increase, which does not affect the base rate of $ 2.75, will come into effect on April 21. Tolls on most MTA bridges and tunnels will also increase by approximately 36 cents.

"It hurts a lot of people, but it was not really an aggression," MTA acting president Freddy Ferrer told reporters.

This decision comes after a scheduled vote on rising rates was delayed last month, with some board members citing the need to involve any cost increases to improve subway performance. The price increase voted today, which ends the rebate, does not include a performance measure for the metro service. The MTA's decision to postpone the vote cost the authority about $ 30 million, according to transit officials.

The vote also comes one day after Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio released a plan to create new sources of metro-linked funding, via congestion pricing, future revenues from legalized marijuana, and a new sales tax on the Internet. The governor – who appoints a plurality of MTA board members and its acting chairman, and effectively controls the authority – has repeatedly pledged not to raise fares until the metro service will not be improved.

"I would be in favor of canceling the higher rates because the service is not what people deserve," said Cuomo during a debate held this summer with his primary opponent. Democrat, Cynthia Nixon.

However, during his speech on the Brian Lehrer Show show Tuesday, Cuomo seemed to suggest that he was referring to larger increases in the future, and not to the "rate hike" scheduled today. hui ", as he said. "My idea was that we had to stop these incremental movements, which do not solve the problem," said the governor.

A spokesman for the governor's office did not say whether Cuomo had tried to stop the tariff increase or what happened to the police. secret alternative plan that the governor apparently was preparing to spare runners from an increase.

According to transit officials, the MTA needs this rate increase to fill the growing budget deficit, which could lead to reductions in services, further reducing revenues as more passengers flee the system. public transport. Last week, the MTA admitted that the daily number of subway users had decreased by 5.44 million in 2018, while that of buses had decreased by almost 10%.

Without today's increase, the MTA's gaping budget deficit would have reached a deficit of $ 1.6 billion by 2022. Despite this new surge, the MTA is expected to still run a deficit of $ 500 million in its operating budget next year and a deficit of about $ 1 billion in 2022. Meanwhile, transit officials are now placing the total cost of reactivating the system at about $ 60 billion.

As part of its announcement of congestion pricing this week, Cuomo also announced a restructuring of the MTA, which it says will streamline the authority's decision-making processes.

"It's a 1960s style holding company with a 1960 mentality," Cuomo told Lehrer. "We need to consolidate the functions at the MTA, introduce a different culture, make the board operational and operational so that we know that we are getting efficiency from the riders' fare."

While the reaction of transit advocates has been mixed, government group Reinvent Albany has expressed concern that the plan appears to be ignoring the president of the New York Transit Authority, Andy Byford. allowing the governor to exercise even more power over the authority. They also accused the governor of having published the plan as "another distraction" of his broken promise in 2015 to give MTA $ 8.3 billion, of which only $ 1 billion was allocated until the end of the year. present.

"This is not the time to make major changes to redistribute power over the MTA's governance structure, as too many actors are at risk," the group said. "The biggest organizational problem of the MTA is the endless political interference of the governor and the dismissal of the professional staff of the MTA and NYC Transit."

Additional report by Stephen Nessen.

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