MTA unveils budget with big service cuts, fare hikes

The MTA unveiled its doom-and-gloom budget Thursday that includes a 23-percent fare hike and cuts to service. The measures are designed to close a $1.2 billion budget shortfall in 2009. In addition to

News 12 Staff

Nov 21, 2008, 1:47 AM

Updated 5,722 days ago

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The MTA unveiled its doom-and-gloom budget Thursday that includes a 23-percent fare hike and cuts to service.
The measures are designed to close a $1.2 billion budget shortfall in 2009. In addition to the fare hike and service cuts, the MTA is looking to eliminate 2,700 jobs across the board.
"These actions collectively close our 2009 gap," says MTA CEO Eliot Sander. "But I will point out as a result of the economy we do have significant gaps in the outer years." Sander himself calls the measures draconian.
Board members say because business is down and tax revenues are down, they have no choice under the law but to slash services and raise the ticket prices. Board member Jim McGovern says he?s worried the cuts could hurt Long Island?s economy in particular.
MTA officials say the Long Island Rail Road?s West Hempstead branch would face the worst service cuts. Service could be eliminated all together on weekends. On the Port Washington line, trains may start running every hour during off-peak hours, instead of every half-hour. They also say they may have to reduce or eliminate service on Long Island Bus routes that have low ridership.
A commission charged with recommending cost-cutting measures to the MTA is due to deliver its report in December, which could provide a reprieve. The MTA could also get more money from Albany and Washington.
Hearings on the budget will be held next month. The changes would go into effect in June following a vote by the board.
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