Transportation Advocates Fight Planned MTA Fee Increases (UPDATE)
While this isn't exactly breaking -- the New York legislature long ago gave the green light to transit rate increases every two years -- what's worth mentioning is that transportation advocates have not given up the fight against these raised rates.
Here's what's up: Fares will go up 7.5 percent at some point in 2013, MTA Spokesman Kevin Ortiz tells Runnin' Scared. The exact number isn't clear because it will be based on revenue, he says.
Transportation Alternatives, however, is using the looming prospect of higher fares as an opportunity to voice concerns about the city and state's management of mass transit money.
Transportation Alternatives, Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca, and other members of the City's transportation committee will come together on Tuesday to look at New York's proposed transit budget, the advocacy group announced today.
The organization plans on asking the City Council to halt increases, saying that the municipality and state government have wrongly gutted transit's coffers, leaving commuters with the highest fare burden in the U.S.
This also affects more New Yorkers now than in the recent past: The MTA just announced that ridership is at its highest level since 1950.
"Over the last three years, the state government raided a total of $260 million from dedicated transit funding. These raids caused the worst service cuts and fare hikes in a generation: the loss of two subway lines, 36 bus routes and 570 bus stops," T.A. claims.
"The state government's scheme to finance the MTA Capital Plan, which makes
necessary station and track repairs, with massive debt will only increase pressure to raise the fare."
Unclear what the city could do, since Ortiz told us that the increases stem from a state mandate. Runnin' Scared put in a call to T.A. to see what's up.
UPDATE: Transportation Alternatives Spokesman Michael Murphy got in touch with us.
"It's very clear what the city can do -- it can invest in the transit system that millions of New Yorkers depend on every day. The City doesn't need permission from the State to invest in transit. New Yorkers are going to be asked to pay more for transit for the fourth time since 2007. Meanwhile, the City hasn't increased its investment in transit since 1992! Ultimately, New York City's millions of transit riders need leadership from both the state and city governments. But it's the City Council that's about to hold a hearing on the issue so it's the City Council that we're asking to invest in the public transportation system New York City depends on."
If you're interested, the March 6 hearing looks like it's public, and is scheduled to take place at 250 Broadway, 14th Floor, at 10 a.m.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.