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Doomsday News: MTA Votes, Paterson Plays Chicken, Monserrate Indicted

3379657346_fddfc8a28c.jpgPhoto: The Daily Politics

The MTA's doomsday scenario came closer to fruition today, as agency board members took a step toward implementing planned fare hikes and service reductions while state lawmakers appeared mired in stalemate. Here are a few tidbits.

Newsday filed this report on the MTA Finance Committee meeting (as live-blogged by Second Avenue Sagas), where members voted to recommend revenue-saving measures to the full board, now set to make its decision on Wednesday:

MTA board chairman H. Dale Hemmerdinger urged the agency's finance committee to adopt the fare hikes and service cuts even though he called them "horrific."

"This represents as good a job as human beings can do to divide the pain as equally as we can," he said.

The vote took place as state lawmakers in Albany sought to reach a compromise on a bailout plan that would avoid the worst of the planned fare increases and service cuts.

At a news conference after the committee vote in Manhattan, Hemmerdinger was asked if he had any message for Albany. He said, "How about: 'Help!'"

In Albany, Governor Paterson engaged in what Liz Benjamin of The Daily Politics described as "a game of political chicken" when, flanked by a silent Malcolm Smith and Sheldon Silver, he urged the MTA to go ahead with higher fares and service cuts without waiting on assistance from the legislature.

"Delaying action, to me, would just ring too true to what's gone on in Albany too many times," Paterson said. "I'm not in favor of delaying any action that was scheduled."

In Fare Hike Four news, Senator Hiram Monserrate was indicted for allegedly stabbing his girlfriend with a drinking glass last December. If convicted, Monserrate faces seven years in prison -- and, says one City Room commenter of today's developments, "will probably guarantee his re-election."

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