May 7, 2009

Silver And Farrell Announce Passage Of Bill To Prevent Drastic MTA Fare And Toll Hikes

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chair Herman D. Farrell, Jr. today announced the passage of critical legislation that will prevent massive fare hikes on subways, buses and trains served by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The legislation (A.8180/Silver) also prevents service cuts proposed by the MTA from going into effect and mandates important reforms of the authority's operations and governance.

"This legislation will not only save the fare and stop the cuts, but preserve our investment in the future of mass transit throughout the region." said Silver (D-Manhattan). "The bill provides a stable, long term funding stream for our buses, subways, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North and spreads the burden equally among everyone who has a stake in the region's future. A safe, efficient and dependable mass transit system is critical to the region's economic health and a major factor in our ability to attract and retain jobs. Tonight we have brought the system back from the brink of collapse."

"New Yorkers rely on a working subway bus and train system that they can afford to ride," said Farrell (D-Manhattan). "This bill was necessary to ensure that riders were not hit with an increase that they simply could not afford to pay just to get to work and back. Frequent audits of the MTA's books will help us to gauge the fiscal standing of the authority. We are happy that this funding crisis can be brought to a close."

The legislation averts a planned 32 percent increase in fares and tolls scheduled to go into effect soon. Instead, fare and toll increases will be held at 10 percent while preserving subway, train and bus line operations. Under the legislation the MTA will have sufficient funds to pay for two years of capital projects. These essential projects include subway and commuter rail modernization and maintenance.

The MTA will undergo significant reforms to its operations. The legislation includes provisions that would allow the Legislature to perform independent audits on a two-year basis beginning this year. Under the bill, the authority's management is restructured by combining the positions of chairman and chief executive officer , developing a mission statement, and appointing board members who have experience in finance or transportation.

Provisions of the MTA rescue plan include: