The MTA plans to borrow almost $7 billion to keep...

The MTA plans to borrow almost $7 billion to keep the region's public transit in shape and finish some ambitious projects. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

State Sen. Lee Zeldin plans to hold a rally on Sunday, April 10, in his home base of Shirley for repeal of the reviled Metropolitan Transportation Authority payroll tax. But he'll need to get his own Republican leadership riled up to get something done soon.

While the tax was a piñata for GOP senators during last year's campaign, freshman Zeldin, whose victory helped return them to the majority, is still taking his whacks. Zeldin lost the battle to eliminate the tax in Albany's new budget, which means he's lost the war for now. Sen. Dean Skelos, the majority leader, has already said wait until next year, because Albany hasn't figured out how to replace revenue from the tax, which has brought in $1.35 billion. And by next year, the MTA will have even bigger needs: There is a $10-billion deficit in its capital plan, which is only funded through the end of 2011. hN