MTA committee proposes service cuts for 2010

(AP) - Facing a nearly $400 million budget gap, transitofficials on Monday proposed cutting subway lines, dozens of busroutes and free rides for students.

The recommendations from the Metropolitan TransportationAuthority board's finance committee will be presented to the fullMTA board when it meets on Wednesday to vote on the 2010 budget.

The MTA has pledged not to raise fares next year. It revived theproposed service cuts after the state cut aid it had pledged monthsago.

The proposed cuts would eliminate two subway lines, cut severalbus routes and mean fewer subways and buses late at night and onweekends. The proposals also call for a 10 percent salary cut to beaccomplished by furloughs and temporary pay cuts.

"We're grappling with the loss of nearly $400 million virtuallyovernight," said MTA Chairman Jay Walder. "I wish I could tellyou that losing this amount of money in this amount of time doesnot have painful consequences. Unfortunately I can't."

The agency said it is facing a $383 million budget gap for 2010.Factors include cuts in state aid and lower-than-expected taxrevenues.

On Friday, a court ruled in support of an 11.5 percent payincrease over three years for the transit workers' union. The wagehikes will add about $300 million in labor costs through 2011, theMTA said. Their impact is already included in the MTA's 2010 budgetconsiderations.

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