Faring no better in New York

The MBTA isn’t the only cash-strapped transit agency looking for relief — and getting zilch — from state lawmakers.

New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted overwhelmingly last week to approve what transit officials called its “doomsday budget.”  Under that scenario, subway fares shoot up from $2 to $2.50. Two subway lines and 35 bus routes get the axe, and 1000 employees receive pink slips. And that's just for starters.

The vote came as state legislators failed to agree on a bailout plan to rescue the agency from a $1.2 billion deficit. Gov. David Paterson had supported a plan that included an 8 percent fare hike, tolls on 13 East River and Harlem River Bridges (which are free at the moment), and a payroll tax levied on the counties served by the authority. But lawmakers in the state Assembly and Senate favored a smaller fare hike, no tolls, and a smaller payroll tax.

Unless legislators come up with a better idea, fare hikes in the country’s largest transit system take effect May 31. A local transportation advocate told Newsday, "There's no money from heaven that's going to fall out of the sky and save us. We need Albany."

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Gabrielle Gurley

Senior Associate Editor, CommonWealth

About Gabrielle Gurley

Gabrielle covers several beats, including mass transit, municipal government, child welfare, and energy and the environment. Her recent articles have explored municipal hiring practices in Pittsfield, public defender pay, and medical marijuana, and she has won several national journalism awards for her work. Prior to coming to CommonWealth in 2005, Gabrielle wrote for the State House News Service, The Boston Globe, and other publications. She launched her media career in broadcast journalism with C-SPAN in Washington, DC. The Philadelphia native holds degrees from Boston College and Georgetown University.

About Gabrielle Gurley

Gabrielle covers several beats, including mass transit, municipal government, child welfare, and energy and the environment. Her recent articles have explored municipal hiring practices in Pittsfield, public defender pay, and medical marijuana, and she has won several national journalism awards for her work. Prior to coming to CommonWealth in 2005, Gabrielle wrote for the State House News Service, The Boston Globe, and other publications. She launched her media career in broadcast journalism with C-SPAN in Washington, DC. The Philadelphia native holds degrees from Boston College and Georgetown University.

Meanwhile, back east on Beacon Hill, the State House News Service reports (subscription required) that the House may delay debate on transportation reform, including (dim) prospects for relief for the T, until next week.

The heavens probably won't open up over Boston either.