Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Terms Of M.T.A. Bailout Still Up For Debate

The M.T.A.'s deadline passed last week and they did officially raise the fare and move to cut service, but it doesn't take effect for two months. Therefore there is still a limited amount of time for someone to do something. Now that the state budget is nearly passed, legislators are looking to show New Yorkers that they do indeed care about helping straphangers. The question though is how?

From The NY Times:

Lawmakers said that whatever plan emerges, it is expected to include the payroll tax and a smaller increase to fares and tolls.

But they continue to grapple with how to get drivers to contribute without creating new tolls.

Officials have discussed increasing vehicle registration fees in the 12-county region served by the authority.

But some officials said the governor’s office had been considering using an increase in vehicle registration fees to finance the state’s long-term road and bridge construction program.

Many senators have said that financing the road and bridge program is a priority, and they criticized the Ravitch plan for not taking that program’s needs into account.
Then of course there are the legislators that want to get rid of the payroll tax, but that seems unlikely. There is still a lot up in the air, but everyone needs to come down on solid ground soon. The clock is ticking until we see higher fares and reduced service. With the situation we face, outer-borough and extra-borough politicians must realize that New York needs a comprehensive plan to deal with the M.T.A.'s deficit and most certainly the long-term debt. If that includes a vehicle tax or a toll (preferably a toll) then so be it.