Straphangers, Brace Yourselves

$1.2 billion proposal still not approved or rejected

By now there was supposed to be a deal, or at least some direction from Albany.

Huge fare increases, along with massive service cuts are what New York City bus and subway riders can look forward to, if the New York State Legislature doesn't come through with a financial rescue plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The MTA board called a special meeting today to try to figure out what it will need to do to keep operating if help does not come from Albany.

The MTA is calling on the State Legislature to approve the so-called Ravitch Commission plan -- a $1.2 billion proposal that would place tolls on the East River crossings, implement a payroll tax on city businesses and require small increases in fares ever other year.

State Speaker Sheldon Silver said the votes are there, but that might be difficult since no Senate Republicans support Ravitch's plan.

If the bailout pact is not passed, new fares could go into effect in June. The price of monthly MetroCard could go from $81 to $103.

Without that permanent, recurring revenue stream, the MTA says it will be forced to increase fares as much as 30 percent in June, end service on numerous subway and bus lines and layoff some 1,100 workers.

Against that backdrop is a ticking clock.

The MTA board is scheduled to vote on a new budget on March 25.

If you would like to learn more about the proposed fair hikes, visit

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