Fare hike possible to fund New York transit updates

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LIRR_404
Well-worn Long Island Railroad DE30AC No. 404 rolls a train through the Woodside station in Queens in September 2012.
Michael T. Burkhart
NEW YORK – Metropolitan Transportation Authority riders may face fare hikes of up to 4 percent if new sources of funding aren’t established, according to Long Island Business News.

“Maintaining, modernizing and expanding the largest mass transit agency in the nation is critically important to the future of the New York metropolitan region,” New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says.

MTA’s increasingly poor performance is a source of frustration to many New Yorkers. A state report released earlier this month says that in the first half of 2017 12,777 Long Island Rail Road trains were delayed or canceled, a 57 percent increase compared with 2016’s numbers. The report put much of the blame on problems with Amtrak-owned tunnels and portions of the East Tunnel that are still in need of repairs after Hurricane Sandy.

The report, prepared by DiNapoli’s office, says that addressing these problems and making general system improvements could cost more than $300 million a year, which is about the same figure as a 4 percent fare increase. “In the absence of adequate funding, the system could fall into further disrepair and riders could face unplanned fare hikes,” DiNapoli says. “The state and city need to find solutions to prevent these possibilities from becoming reality, and the MTA must make the best use of its resources.”

The Long Island Business News notes that MTA Chairman Joe Lhota is skeptical of the need to increase fares across the board.
“We are extremely encouraged by the growing support for congestion pricing and we categorically reject the idea of any unplanned fare increases,” Lhota says. “Funding subway repairs will not come on the backs of riders and the comptroller is fear-mongering by injecting unplanned fare increases into the public discourse.”

MTA’s 2020-2024 capital program includes plans to modernize the subway at an estimated cost of $8 billion dollars, but complete funding for that program is not secured.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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