The MTA Board met this morning to present and discuss its newest financial plan for 2012 through 2015, a plan still in its preliminary stages. To everyone’s likely dismay, it projects fare increases, but also promises no service cuts based on the budget. “[The plan] presents at least a fragile stability for the organization,” outgoing MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jay Walder said at the meeting.
“Fragile” is…well, we’ll take what we can get.
The plan forecasts increases of 7.5 percent for fares and tolls in both 2013 and 2015.
“I think the riders have seen over some period of time fare increases in response to crisis, and I think what this plan is attempting to say is that we’re not doing that,” Walder said in a press conference following the meeting. “There is no fare increase in 2012. There are regularly scheduled increases that are in there. They will be evaluated at that point in time and you can look at it in a reasonable planning framework with decisions to be taken out over time.”
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the organization is expecting a 7.5 percent increase in revenue, but that it has not yet been decided how those raised prices will be allocated across the MTA’s various transit platforms.
During the meeting, MTA Chief Financial Officer Robert Foran confirmed that the increases are, as a questioning board member put it, “not locked in.”
News of these future costs come as we learn that come 2013, buying a new MetroCard will cost an extra $1, an effort approved last year to incite riders to refill instead of replacing their cards. Reusing empty cards will in turn lessen the costs of producing them for the MTA.
Although the current plan doesn’t call for any service cuts, it stipulates that workers will receive no wage increases for three years.
During the meeting Foran also discussed possible methods of paying for the Capital Program, which is responsible for the Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access connecting the Long Island Railroad to Grand Central. The 2010-2014 program, according to a press release issued today, is unfunded for its final three years.
Of course, all of this will go into effect without Walder: We learned last week that he will be leaving in October to become CEO of Hong Kong’s MTR Group.