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Senators urge MTA to hold down fare hike

New York State Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (July

New York State Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (July 18, 2012) (Credit: James Escher)

State lawmakers Thursday urged the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to hold down a planned 2015 fare increase, and even consider adopting a fare-hike cap similar to that on school taxes.

At a Manhattan hearing held by the State Senate Transportation Committee, Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick) noted that state budgets and school district budgets both have tried to keep annual increases at 2 percent or less, and asked whether the MTA could do the same with its fares and tolls.

MTA chairman and chief executive Thomas Prendergast said he “would have to look at it,” but noted that reducing a planned 7.5 percent hike in 2015 would put more pressure in other areas, including efforts to reduce labor expenses and to invest in infrastructure improvements.

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“We have to have money coming in, because money is going out,” Prendergast later told reporters, noting that every 1 percent in fare increases results in $65 million annually in revenue. “I respect what he’s saying, so I’m listening. We have to see exactly what the proposal was, and then we could assess what its impact would be.”

MTA chief financial officer Robert Foran said it was too early to discuss the specifics of the planned 2015 increase, but emphasized that the State Legislature approved biannual increases of 7.5 percent in 2009.

“All we’re doing is putting in place the fare and toll increases that everybody’s agreed to,” Foran said.

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