Straphangers will be spared from new service cuts over the next year, according to the budget the MTA will release Wednesday morning.
Instead, the cash-strapped agency will rely heavily on loans and fare hikes already slated for 2013 and 2015 to keep the transit system moving and fund its “so-called” mega projects.
The MTA says it will further tighten its belt by cutting expenses like staff cell phones and vehicles; sharing office equipment; and consolidating services. But it is also counting on freezing union employee wages, billions in federal loans and money from the state.
“Thanks to aggressive cost-cutting, this budget brings stability back to the MTA,” the agency said in a statement.
But some transit advocates worry that the new budget includes too many outside factors.
“There’s a lot of things that have to go right for this to work,” Bill Henderson of the MTA’s Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee said.
Among the risks is the expectation that the MTA can get the Transport Workers Union to agree to no raises for three years. TWU President John Samuelsen has already rejected the plan, saying it would feel like a wage cut due to cost of living increases and inflation.