The MTA has voted for its so-called doomsday budget that would see subway fare hiked up 50 cents and the commuter rails costing another 20-30%.
The latter would go into effect June 1. A commuter riding Long Island Railroad from Hicksville to Penn Station each day, reports the New York Times, would see his monthly nut go from $211 to $267.
As if living in a town called Hicksville wasn’t insult enough.
The budget now goes before the governor and State Senate, and the heavy posturing from the MTA begins in earnest. The downstaters will grovel for all they’re worth for the state to kick in dough to offset the service cuts–say farewell to the W and Z trains, among other transit things we take for granted–and price hikes. The pols will say they are flat broke.
The MTA board was almost unanimous in voting for the doomsday cuts.
After the authority’s board voted 12 to 1 on the fare and service changes, H. Dale Hemmerdinger, the chairman, said, “It’s now a fact, it’s done.” Speaking of state legislators, he said, “It can only be undone by actions that they will take, so we sure hope the pressure will build.”
The Times reports that Mayor Bloomberg is playing a more visible role in the fracas.
Mr. Bloomberg, who has poor relations with many Democratic legislators, initially avoided taking a prominent role in pressing the rescue. In recent days he has become more outspoken, calling on transit riders to demand action from their representatives.
“We do need mass transit and we do need affordable mass transit,” the mayor said Wednesday after meeting in Albany with legislators to discuss education issues. “Our city survives with that and can’t survive without it.”
I know it sounds crazy, but couldn’t Bloomberg write a check for, say, a billion from his personal account to tide the MTA over until its finances are in order? Wouldn’t that be a great, entirely selfless legacy for the mayor to leave behind–far more meaningful than that stupid football stadium on the west side that he’d pushed so hard for?
Mayor Bloomberg is 67 and he’s worth some $20 bil–the guy’s not going to spend it all by the time he passes on.
Bloomie loves the subways, and often makes the point that he rides it to work most days.
It’s just a thought.