MTA Doomsday Worse Than Thought

State tax shortfall more than doubles original calculation

It may be shocking to think that the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s budget problems could get worse, but they have – and apparently it’s the agency’s own darn fault.

The MTA seems to have gotten the numbers wrong – a miscalculation that could slap commuters with additional fees and service cuts in addition to the double-digit percent hikes already proposed unless Albany steps up to the plate with a big bailout.

On Monday, the MTA said the state told the agency it should prep for a deficit as large as $200 million in state tax revenues this year – more than double the amount the authority projected a few months ago, according to The New York Times.

In February, the MTA projected it would only be down $82 million in state tax receipts, according to The Times. And that was if the economy hit rock bottom. Well, it looks like the agency’s breaking new ground.

Gov. David Paterson has pledged to do everything he can to bail out the MTA and relieve commuters of the burdens they’d face if the agency didn’t get enough help. But Paterson’s bailout has stalled in the legislature, and commuters’ patience is wearing thin.

The MTA has an $11 billion budget and predicted a $1.2 shortfall for the year. To close the gap, the authority has said it would jack up most subway, bus and rail fares by 20 to 30 percent and eradicate dozens of bus routes and subway lines, providing fewer options for commuters who are already strapped to the max. The cuts and fare hikes are slated to take effect in June.

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