MTA Budget Invests More in Safety

Higher fare and toll revenues help offset labor settlements
By Catherine Yang, Epoch Times
November 19, 2014 1:38 pm Last Updated: November 19, 2014 1:38 pm

Higher than projected ridership and fare and toll revenues are helping the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s finances, but not enough to offset higher than expected costs, said MTA CFO Bob Foran Wednesday. 

The new labor settlements reached this year means higher health and welfare expenses, plus the MTA is making more investments in safety and other needs. 

“When you take all of these and put them together the net result during the plan period is a negative $60 million,” Foran said.

Since the five Metro-North incidents that occurred over the course of a year, MTA has worked on implementing more safety measures. The updated budget includes an additional $79 million for equipment and training. 

The MTA has also been able to meet and increase their savings goals every year, Foran said. It has cut $1.1 billion from its annual spending, and more cuts are scheduled so by 2017 annual savings will be $1.5 billion.

The biggest problem is still funding the capital plan, Foran said. 

Board members had varying opinions on the fare hikes, but said new sources of funding would be needed regardless. 

Fares and Tolls

The increased revenue from fares and tolls will actually come out to be under 4 percent, Foran said. This is because the agencies took a simpler approach to calculating the increases this year, and it means customers will be paying about $25 million less than they would have, he added.

Fares and tolls cover 52 percent of the MTA’s $13 billion operating budget.

Increases are scheduled for March 1, and MTA will hear comments on a variety of increase proposals starting December. 

The first proposal increases the base fare by 25 cents (a $2.50 trip would be $2.75) but increases the bonus amount from 5 percent to 11 percent when putting $5.50 or more on a MetroCard.

The second proposal keeps the base fares the same but eliminates the bonus. 

In both proposals, the cost of a 30-day unlimited ride card will increase by $4.50 and the cost of a 7-day unlimited ride card will increase by $1.

Public hearings start Dec. 1:

Monday, December 1, 2014:

• Manhattan – Baruch College, Baruch Performing Arts Center, Mason Hall, 17 Lexington Ave. at 23rd Street, New York, NY. Registration period is open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hearing begins at 5 p.m.
• Bronx – Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse at 149th Street, Bronx, NY. Registration period is open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hearing begins at 5 p.m.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014:
• Westchester – New York State Power Authority, Jaguar Room, 123 Main St., White Plains, NY. Registration period is open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hearing begins at 5 p.m.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014:
• Long Island – Hilton Long Island/Huntington, Salon C & D, 598 Broad Hollow Road, Melville, NY. Registration period is open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hearing begins at 5 p.m.
• Queens – The Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center at York College, Main Stage Theater, 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd, Jamaica, NY. Registration period is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hearing begins at 6 p.m.

Monday, December 8, 2014:
• West of Hudson – Palisades Center, Adler & Besso Community Rooms, 4th Floor, 1000 Palisades Center Drive, West Nyack, NY. Registration period is open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hearing begins at 5 p.m.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014:
• Staten Island – College of Staten Island, Center for the Arts, Springer Concert Hall, 2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island, NY. Registration period is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hearing begins at 6 p.m.

Thursday, December 11, 2014:
• Brooklyn – Walt Whitman Theater at Brooklyn College, 2900 Campus Road (near the junction of Nostrand Avenue and Avenue H), Brooklyn, NY. Registration period is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hearing begins at 6 p.m.

People can also record their comments on video at the following sessions:

NYC Transit Headquarters, 3 Stone St., Manhattan
Thursday, December 4, 2014, 9 a.m. – noon

LIRR Hicksville Station
Thursday, December 4, 2014, 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. 

Metro-North Poughkeepsie Station
Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

LIRR Ronkonkoma Station
Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 6 a.m. – 10 a.m.