Avoiding the MTA's New Doomsday
December 15th, 2009

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today that he expects congestion pricing will be back on legislator’s radars thanks to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s budget shortfall.

In an interview with CNBC Bloomberg mentioned the measure had previously failed to make it out of the legislature. “But next time, come March, they’re going to have to balance a budget, and I think any kind of revenue source is going to be on the table, and it may in fact still get done,” said Bloomberg.

Meanwhile Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Councilman James Vacca and a number of transportation advocates held a press conference today to call on the MTA Board to look for alternatives to proposed service cuts.

The group said the MTA should utilize $90 million in unspent stimulus funds and $50 million in MTA operating funds that are currently being used to supplement the capital budget. Vacca and Quinn argue those funds would be enough to offset city-wide cuts to bus and subway service.

Austin Shafran, spokesman for the Senate Majority, said that his conference does not blame the MTA for its current financial situation but said he would have liked the MTA to work alongside with the Senate to come up with alternatives to proposed service cuts.

“We don’t blame the MTA for the fiscal crisis,” said Shafran. “They didn’t cause the financial problems but we believe that more can be done to avoid these cuts.”

Gov. David Paterson said today that he hopes the MTA will reconsider its plan to stop offering free rides to schoolkids.

“I would urge them in fairness to take another look at their plan and see if theres another way they can work it out,” said Paterson today. But he admitted that the state is in no financial position to help the MTA avoid cuts.

The MTA board is scheduled vote on the budget tomorrow.

By on December 15, 2009, 2:41 pm
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