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  1. #16

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    NY1

    Updated 1:02 PM

    State-Appointed Panel To Consider Tolls On East River Bridges



    Sources tell NY1 that a specially-appointed state panel is reconsidering the mayor's congestion pricing plan, which went down to defeat in the state Legislature in April.

    That panel is also considering putting tolls on at least some of the city-owned East River bridges.

    It's all part of an effort to help plug a major hole in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's budget.

    Sources say tomorrow, the agency will announce a deficit of more than a billion dollars. An MTA spokesman declined to comment.

    The city and state would both have to approve tolls on the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, and 59th Street bridges, because although the city owns them, the MTA is a state agency.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to charge all drivers entering Manhattan south of 59th Street never made it out of the Assembly.

    Drivers, who already pay to cross the MTA owned Triborough Bridge, the Midtown Tunnel, and the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel, said they were not thrilled with the proposal.

    "I don't think it's a good idea because you'll cause more congestion," said one driver. "We got enough angry people here."

    "I think it would just raise the air pollution index," said another. "That's all I'm concerned about at the moment."

    The idea of new bridge tolls is getting slammed by the head of the City Council's transportation committee.

    Council member John Liu released a statement today saying, "East River bridge tolls get bandied about every time there is a fiscal crisis. The mayor tried to impose them during the dire fiscal straits in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and even then it went over like a lead balloon. This time it will sink equally fast -- to the bottom of the East River."

    Liu says while there's no question the MTA needs a bailout, it should come from "a broad-based revenue source."

    Congressman Anthony Weiner also chimed in on the proposal, saying that the idea "should stay dead."

    "It's a regressive tax on middle class and working New Yorkers," said Weiner in a statement. "It falls on residents of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, and it would create untenable traffic jams."



    Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

  2. #17
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    "Untenable traffic jams" like those that now exist in Downtown Manhattan

    Tolls on those bridges would serve to direct traffic heading from LI > NJ and points south back to the Verrazano Bridge and away from downtown Manhattan / Canal Street / Holland Tunnel.

  3. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYC4Life View Post
    ... it would create untenable traffic jams."
    How?

  4. #19
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    They are probably referring to the inevitable back-up which would occur as folks slowed down to pay the toll(s) at the newly-constructed toll booths -- and which would require some sort of reconfiguration of roadways leading onto the bridges. Both the re-configuration & re-construction would lead to jams & delays.

    Unless, perhaps, they instigate a Fast Pass-ONLY camera-reads-your-bar-code type situation and thereby no stopping is required (not that vehicles, under the current rush hour traffic conditions, don't already come to a crawling near-stop on the way onto the bridges). If you don't have the Pass posted in your car for the cam to read you will receive a $1000 ticket in the mail. And if the fine goes unpaid then the week after that your car simply disappears.

    It's fairly inevitable: Everything to do with cars in NYC -- particularly in Manhattan -- will become far more expensive in the coming years.

  5. #20
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    I think they will always have to offer a cash option for tolls.

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by stache View Post
    I think they will always have to offer a cash option for tolls.
    Not necessarily. I remember back when congestion pricing was being bounced around, they said it would exclusively use EZ-PASS combined with high-speed cameras that are linked to computers. For those without EZ-PASS, instead of getting a ticket in the mail you would get a "bill" for your usage of the bridge based on how many times your license plate was scanned.

  7. #22
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Default Makes sense to me.

    Then you could pay by check.

  8. #23

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    NY1

    Updated 2:14 PM

    MTA Threatens More Fare Hikes, Service Cuts



    At a board meeting this morning, the Metropolitan Transporation Authority threatened more fare hikes and service cuts if the city and state cannot provide additional funding.

    As a result of the economic slowdown, the agency said today that its deficit for next year has grown $575 million over the last four months to a total of $1.2 billion.

    The MTA blames a decrease in state tax revenue and aid from the city.

    "If the governor and the Legislature do not act within a certain period of time, in the spring, then the fare and toll increase and the service reductions will take place," said MTA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Elliot "Lee" Sander.

    In response, the MTA says that fares will have to increase. The question still remains of how much the hike will be.

    The MTA had proposed an average increase of 8 percent across the board on fares on subways and buses, as well as tolls on MTA bridges and tunnels. However, it now appears the agency will have to propose an even larger increase.

    The agency hopes that the state will be able to provide it with some new revenue stream to avoid these further hikes and service cuts.

    Governor David Paterson released a statement, saying in part, "Addressing the fiscal challenges facing the MTA and the state over the next several years will require shared sacrifice, difficult choices, and cooperation from all funding partners. We should be open and transparent in facing these challenges and in discussing options."

    Among the options being proposed is a toll on East River bridges.

    Sources tell NY1 that a special state panel is still considering tolls on the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, and Queensboro bridges.

    The commission, appointed by Governor David Paterson, is expected to hand over its recommendations on new funding sources next month.

    Most drivers who spoke with said they were dead-set against adding any new tolls.

    "I hate the idea. I hate it," said one driver. "I definitely don't think it's right, especially now the with economy; people are suffering and we don't have money to put food on our table."

    "We're paying enough right now," said another. "It's just going to the city. It's like $100 before I even get into work, so I'm not for it, that's for sure."

    "That's crazy," said a third. "In this economy now I think we're already hurting but, I guess they got to get the money from somewhere."

    With the MTA warning that higher transit fares are on the way, taking the train – or the bus – will also take a bigger bite out of your budget.

    "It's better to take the subway if there's going to be toll," said one New Yorker. "The problem is, the subway is already so packed. With another toll, it's going to be more packed."

    The irony is that if the mayor's congestion pricing plan had passed in the spring, the city would have been eligible for $354 million in federal funding. That money has already been given to other cities.

    Both City Hall and Albany would have to sign off on adding tolls to the East River bridges.



    Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.



  9. #24

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    NY Times

    November 10, 2008, 11:32 am

    M.T.A. Faces $1.2 Billion Deficit

    By Sewell Chan AND William Neuman


    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority faces a $1.2 billion budget deficit in 2009 — $300 million more than it had projected in July — that will very likely require new fare and toll increases or service reductions unless it gets new state and city aid or finds new sources of revenue, officials warned on Monday morning.

    At a meeting of the finance committee of the authority’s board, the authority’s chief executive, Elliot G. Sander, said the authority faces a dire fiscal situation that could influence riders across the subway, bus and commuter-rail networks. The deficit was caused, he said, by the collapse of revenues from real estate and corporate taxes, which until just a few years ago had given the authority a string of healthy surpluses.

    “The word draconian is not inappropriate,” Mr. Sander said at a news conference after the meeting. He was flanked by the authority’s chairman, H. Dale Hemmerdinger, and its chief financial officer, Gary J. Dellaverson, in describing the potential service reductions.

    “They will be very, very significant,” Mr. Sander said. “Whatever that mix that we come up with, in terms of fare and toll increases and service reductions, there’s no question that they would have an impact, significantly, on our customer and on the functioning of that region.”

    The magnitude of the fiscal challenges confronting the authority was evident in a PowerPoint presentation presented at the meeting and posted to the authority’s Web site.

    Real estate transaction taxes, which represent an important share of M.T.A. revenue, provided the authority with more than $1.4 billion in 2006 and nearly $1.6 billion in 2007. This year, the authority is on track to collect only $995 million in such taxes — about $50 million less than had been projected in July.

    And the situation is expected to get even worse. The authority now expects to collect $895 million in real estate taxes next year, and $877 million in 2010.

    The authority is required to pass a balanced budget in December for the fiscal year that starts on Jan. 1. A final decision on the fare and toll increases, and service cuts, will most likely not be reached until after a state commission on M.T.A. finances, appointed by Gov. David A. Paterson and led by a former authority chairman, Richard Ravitch, delivers its report on Dec. 5 and after Mr. Paterson releases the state executive budget on Dec. 16.

    The Ravitch commission is contemplating imposing tolls on the four East River bridges — the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queensboro and Williamsburg Bridges — that are run by the city, unlike the authority’s bridges, like the Triborough, which already charge tolls.

    Asked about the toll proposal, Mr. Sander, who was a city transportation commissioner in the Giuliani administration, replied: “I’ve previously said that from a broader transportation-policy standpoint, I’m comfortable with that, but that should not be interpreted as my support for it in this context. We are looking at that suggestion, along with many, as we’ve said publicly.”

    Mr. Sander attributed the authority’s financial condition to the heavy borrowing for capital projects that occurred in the early part of this decade, when the authority was under the control of Gov. George E. Pataki and the previous chairman, Peter S. Kalikow.

    “The 2000-2004 capital program was essentially put on a credit card,” Mr. Sander said, and is “the largest contributor” to the current operating deficit. Already, the heavy borrowing now costs the hundreds of millions of dollars in interest payments each year — and the figure is projected to rise to $2 billion by 2012.

    Mr. Paterson said in a statement on Monday:
    The financial information provided this morning to the M.T.A. Finance Committee is another reminder of the dire fiscal situation facing all New Yorkers.

    In April, I appointed Richard Ravitch to head a commission charged with recommending strategies to fund M.T.A. capital projects and operating needs over the next 10 years, a period when the Authority will be under unprecedented financial pressure as it expands and rebuilds its core infrastructure to provide the additional capacity needed to allow the region to grow. The Commission will report its recommendations in early December.

    Addressing the fiscal challenges facing the M.T.A. and the state over the next several years will require shared sacrifice, difficult choices and cooperation from all funding partners. We should be open and transparent in facing these challenges and in discussing options. The M.T.A.’s subway system, buses and extensive regional commuter rail network are the lifelines of the greatest city in the world, and I will continue to work with Richard Ravitch, M.T.A. Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger, M.T.A. C.E.O. and Executive Director Lee Sander, Mayor Bloomberg and the legislative leaders to ensure our transit system continues to serve the 8.5 million people who depend on it each day.

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  10. #25

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    NY1

    Updated 12:31 PM

    MTA To Propose Service Cuts, Fare Hikes



    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has prepared a tough cost-cutting proposal for consideration at Thursday's meeting which includes entire subway lines and bus routes disappearing and more than a thousand workers laid off.

    Sources close to the budget process also say that the agency will propose a fare hike even greater than the eight-percent increase previously discussed.

    NY1 has learned that officials are proposing dropping the W and Z lines completely, as well as cutting more than 1,500 station agent and administrative jobs.

    The plan also calls for the G and M lines to be essentially cut in half and express service on the J train would be eliminated.

    Overnight trains would be scheduled to run every 30 minutes instead of every 20. Midday service would also be cut back.

    Dozens of bus routes with low ridership would be eliminated during late nights and weekends.

    City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. released a statement denoucing the MTA's proposal to eliminate the W line.

    "Astoria is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the city, and its trains are already overflowing with passengers," said Vallone. "To cut the only service to this neighborhood in half would be like choking the breath out of this community."

    Straphangers say they are already dealing with slow service and the increased cuts will hurt both their commutes and their wallets.

    "It's absurd, the service as it is is horrible; it's deplorable," said one straphanger. "You thinking of raising the fares, it's disgusting. I'm going to walk. I'm going to walk the bridge everyday instead."

    "It's going to affect me budget-wise because I'm going to be spending more money to come to school and go to work," said another.

    "The trains, I'd say, have been improving on their time," said a third. "I'm not sure what their plans are, but honestly, the economy is down and they have to do what they have to do."

    Agency officials say the drastic measures may be necessary if the state does not step in with a bailout plan to help close a projected 2009 budget shortfall of $1.2 billion.


    Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

  11. #26
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    So, that's GREAT!

    I wonder what managerial/executive positions they will be cutting/reducing!!!





  12. #27

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    1. Congestion fee.

    2. Tolls on East River bridges.

    3. More advertising in subway stations, in trains and in the tunnels themselves.

    4. Allow corporate sponsors to name subway stations after themselves if they pay for upkeep.

    5. With these revenues, do not cut service but expand it. Do not let the system fall to sh%& but invest in it. Do not be stupid but smart about this.

  13. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stroika View Post
    1. Congestion fee.

    2. Tolls on East River bridges.

    3. More advertising in subway stations, in trains and in the tunnels themselves.

    4. Allow corporate sponsors to name subway stations after themselves if they pay for upkeep.

    5. With these revenues, do not cut service but expand it. Do not let the system fall to sh%& but invest in it. Do not be stupid but smart about this.
    In addition to these I would try an "adopt a station" program in which businesses and organizations near the station give money to help keep it squeeky clean and in a state of good repair (sort of like a business improvement district.) There is no excuse for 5th Ave/53rd street station to be completely falling apart when it is surrounded by all these huge companies. A couple million a year per company is a drop in the bucket for them and yet would do wonders.

  14. #29

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    MTA needs to reinvent itself. This is one agency that, despite all the revenues coming in through different means of advertising, still insists it has a deficit. What more can they ask for when they can't even keep up with making the entire transit system better and more efficient?

  15. #30
    Senior Member DKNY617's Avatar
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    As I said on SSP.com, I live in Astoria and if they cut the W line its going to be tragic! The crowds waiting during rush hour are so large in Astoria that reducing the service in half is going to do a lot of damage. I wait during rush hour sometimes even when 3-4 trains pass by because they are just too full and I do not want to be squished like a sardine, so I can imagine what is going to happen if the W is cut. I won't be a happy camper.

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