Because you can never pay too much for constant delays, overaggressive panhandlers and half-drunk mariachi bands, the MTA this morning officially offered up a 2009 budget that proposes a dual fare hike for riders. If passed, it would be the second fare increase in as many years, but chances are, if you’re reading this, you already knew that. (You’ve probably also just picked up a brick and are getting ready to express your outrage by heaving it through somebody’s window. To that, we’re required by law to urge you to, you know, calm down.)
The reason for the proposed 8% hike in fares and tolls — followed by a possible follow-up hit of 5% in 2011?
The MTA says it needs the funds to cover a substantial budget gap. It’s also asking the city to chip in $200 million toward the cause, leading Mayor Mike Bloomberg to challenge, in the strongest possible terms, the agency’s ability to balance its own damn checkbook. “Anybody who tells me they have got a $10 million budget and they can’t find ways to cut five percent, that’s just poor management,” he said during a news conference yesterday.
Governor David Paterson is equally dismissive of the plan, calling it, in amusingly understated fashion, “not wise.”
According to its figures, the MTA is about $900-million short in its current budget, a deficit the agency is blaming on the twin boogeymen of higher energy costs and lower tax revenue.
If passed, the 8% hike would go into effect next July.