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Old Posted Jul 22, 2008, 10:21 AM
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The Time To Build Is Now
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Bronx, NYC
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Going Up?
MTA To Seek Fare Hike For Second Straight Year

July 21, 2008

Only once in the history of the New York City subway has the fare gone up in back-to-back years – but now it looks like it's happening again.

NY1 has learned that Wednesday the MTA plans to propose a fare increase to take effect next July 2009, just over a year after MetroCard increases took effect.

It’s unclear how much the fare will increase. The MTA will only say it needs to increase firebox revenue by eight percent – about $400 million a year.

That could mean hiking the base fare from $2 to $2.25 and raising the price of unlimited MetroCards. But for now, the MTA is only speaking in general terms.

The last time subway fares were increased in two consecutive years was in 1980 and 1981, as the city grappled with rising inflation while the economy drifted into recession.

In addition to the increased revenue from straphangers, the MTA is also seeking $300 million in increased city and state aid. The agency also plans to eliminate the use of free EZ Passes by government agencies, including the NYPD – a measure that could save an estimated $10 million a year.

The agency plans to do about $45 million worth of belt tightening in addition to budget cuts already planned. The intent will be to close a $700 million budget gap that has appeared in recent months.

The MTA has been hit hard both by rising fuel prices and the struggling real estate market, which generates tax revenue for the agency.

The agency’s $29 billion capital plan for 2009 through 2014, which earmarks billions of dollars for expansion projects like East Side Access and the Second Avenue Subway, is $20 billion short by some estimates.

Last week, city transit officials announced plans to cut more than 500 jobs and $61 million from the budget after MTA brass ordered NYC Transit to cut costs by six percent over four years.

None of the proposals are set in stone, including the fare increase. They are part of the MTA's preliminary budget forecast for next year.

By law, the MTA must hold public hearings before raising fares, which wouldn't happen until early next year.
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