Ravitch Unveils Broad MTA Rescue Package
Former MTA chief Richard Ravitch stood with Governor David Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg this morning to discuss details of his commission’s plan to keep the cash-starved MTA afloat both in the short-term and in years to come. Streetsblog’s Ben Fried attended the news conference and will have more later. For now, here are a few highlights:
- The Ravitch plan would bring a "mobility tax" of 33 cents per $100 that would be levied on payrolls across the region, expected to raise $1.5 billion annually.
- As expected, the proposals include tolls on East River and Harlem River bridges, projected to bring in net revenues of $600 million per year.
- Ravitch described the plan, to be translated into legislation immediately by the governor’s office, as "a major stimulus bill for New York State," which would generate up to $15 billion in wages.
- The plan recommends the MTA be allowed to impose fare increases not more than every two years, pegged at the rate of inflation, without public hearings.
- Ravitch described his commission’s work as "an effort to spread the burden among the largest group that one possibly can."
- Governor Paterson expressed full support for the recommendations. Echoing Ravitch, Paterson described the proposals as "holistic." Said the governor: "The ways in which responsibility may have been shirked, or ignored, in the past, to live for another day — that day has come, and we’re going to have to make those tough choices."
- Oddly, perhaps, MTA head Lee Sander did not participate in the announcement.