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."

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Doomsday Redux? MTA and Transit Riders Squeezed on All Sides

|
Yesterday word surfaced that the MTA will receive $200 million less from the recently enacted payroll tax than the state of New York originally projected. The news came less than a week after Albany legislators slashed $143 million from the MTA so the state can keep paying its bills. Add it up, and the agency […]

MTA Blame Game: Lowlights From Queens

|
The MTA roadshow is in full swing, with raucous public hearings on service cuts drawing hundreds in Queens and Staten Island last night. Some press outlets are questioning whether the hearings actually get anything accomplished. It’s a good question to chew on, since the MTA Board’s options are limited by the agency’s massive budget gap. […]

Pedro Espada’s Student Fare Fix: Toll the East River Bridges

|
No, it’s not April First. The Daily News and the Times-Union report that the Bronx pol who played a critical role in derailing bridge tolls last spring has proposed, yes, tolling the East River bridges. Espada’s office says that more than $500 million could be raised annually from two-way $2 tolls on the East River […]