Remember: MTA fare hearing tomorrow
If you’ve got something to say about the proposed Metropolitan Transportation Authority fare increases — and I imagine quite a few of you do — tomorrow is the first big chance to tell the transit giant’s leaders about it.
The first of eight hearings will begin at 6 p.m. in the Hilton New York, 1335 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. If you’re going, look for me. I’ll be scribbling notes for much of it, trying to find people from Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties to include in our coverage of the evening.
Remember, in December, the MTA passed a 2009 budget that requires the agency to increase the amount of money it gets from fares and tolls by 23 percent. But that translates into rate hikes even higher than that amount to account for people who would stop riding, or who would ride less. Fares on Metro-North Railroad, would increase 29 percent — even higher for some short rides outside New York City.
MTA officials don’t really want to boost fares so drastically. They’re in Albany today, trying to get the state Legislature to pass emergency measures recommended by the Ravitch Commission — a payroll tax on employers in the MTA region, and four new tolls on bridges over the East and Harlem rivers in New York City.
With those measures in place, fares would still rise, but they would be increasing the revenue they bring in by 8 percent rather than 23 percent.
The MTA will bring its traveling hearings to Westchester on January 28 at the Westchester County Center.
Meanwhile, you can find the MTA’s proposals here.