Panel to examine MTA, LIRR money problems

A commission appointed to address and find solutions for the Long Island Rail Road?s money problems will meet Monday.
The Ravitch Commission, headed by former MTA chief Richard Ravitch, is tasked with the responsibility of finding out why fares keep going up. It also must determine a way to fund the MTA and LIRR over the next 10 years without going into the red.
Ravitch is supposed to address why there will be a $900 million MTA deficit next year and an 8 percent fare hike next summer. On top of that, he has to answer why the MTA is cutting $4 million from Long Island Bus.
?You know one of the components of how the MTA balances its budget is state and city subsidies,? MTA Board Member Mitch Pally says. ?Both of them are being significantly negatively affected by the economic turmoil which is going on."
Regardless of what answers the commission comes up with, many agree changes are needed. Long Island Association?s Matt Crosson says Long Island is getting the short end of MTA?s stick when it comes to integrated mass transportation.
Eric Alexander, of Vision Long Island, offers a possible solution to the money problem. He says it may be wise to revisit a congestion pricing plan.
Some are complaining that commuters don?t get to testify at the hearings.