Senate Dems confident MTA bailout will pass

Albany lawmakers have devised another plan to bailout the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and save riders from massive rate hikes. This time, though, leaders say they?re confident it will pass.
The latest proposal by Senate Democrats would cut MTA-proposed hikes on train, bus and subway fares by two-thirds, to about 8 percent. Tolls on East River bridges, proposed by the Ravitch Commission, would be eliminated. However, the plan slaps a $1 fee on taxi trips and raises fees for driver?s licenses, motor vehicle registrations and rental cars.
"I?m pretty outraged by it,? says New Hyde Park single mom Patricia Harris.
The Democrats' new plan includes a controversial payroll tax on employers that critics call a jobs killer. If that were to go through, Syosset restaurant owner Rocco Gojcaj says he?d have to let workers go and cut costs.
However, that part of the plan might not fly. Democratic leaders may not have enough votes from their own party to pass it. All of Long Island?s senators, including the two Democrats, oppose a payroll tax.
If a deal to avert the MTA?s doomsday budget isn?t reached soon, the agency?s proposed hikes will go into effect. The MTA tells News 12 Long Island prices for LIRR tickets bought online will go up on May 12 and tickets purchased through the mail will increase on May 13.
A spokesman for Majority Leader Malcolm Smith says the proposal will be put to a vote next week and Democrats are confident it will get the 32 votes needed for passage.