Fuel Costs, Declining Revenues Slam MTA. Will Anyone Face the Facts?

The MTA just released some figures from its preliminary 2009 financial plan. Here’s what was actually happening to our transit system while the dailies were focused like a laser beam on board members’ travel perks and the CEO’s "scandalous" three percent raise:

The July Financial Plan assumes an increase of $81 million in 2008 and $127 million in 2009 for fuel costs, and reduced real estate tax projections of $201 million in 2008 and $242 million in 2009.  These are the primary reasons that the $216 million budget deficit projected in February for 2009 has grown to over $900 million.

In the face of these numbers, why are Paterson and Bloomberg trying to blame a potential fare hike on the MTA alone? Maybe it’s impolitic to remind people of the $500 million dollars congestion pricing would have funneled to transit every year. But even if the city and state want to hold out as long as possible before they pony up, right now there’s legislation currently stalled in Congress that would deliver $237 million to New York City’s transit system. Let’s hope that yesterday’s rally for transit at City Hall spurs more local electeds to pressure the feds — this means you, Senators Schumer and Clinton — to revive the Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act.

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