Part two of MTA fare hike could surface next month

By Heather Haddon

The MTA could unveil another fare hike or additional service cuts as soon as May without a bailout from Albany, sources said.

The agency announced Monday that it faces a $621 million hole, even after a fare hike of up to 30 percent and dozens of service cuts beginning next month.

The MTA must slap straphangers with more pain this year, as the agency forecasts an additional $1 billion deficit in 2010, a spokesman said.

“The budget has to be reconciled,” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.

MTA staff started sketching out additional doomsday scenarios last month, when it became apparent that the agency’s deficit had grown beyond the original $1.2 billion estimate, according to a source close to the agency. Those traveling during off-peak hours or outside the core of Manhattan are especially vulnerable to service cuts.The MTA board will discuss a time frame for filling the new deficit during its board meeting Wednesday, but won’t put forth specific plans, officials said.

Up in Albany Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee passed its $1.76 billion MTA rescue plan, which would raise fares by 8 percent, impose a payroll tax and instate a $1 taxi surcharge. The Senate amended the bill to exclude livery cars from the fee.

The clock on the May 31 fare hike is quickly ticking. Even if the Senate’s plan passes, the MTA would have to raise fares more than 8 percent because of the lost time, Ortiz said.

Tags: mta , subways , fare hike , transit

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