MTA approves 'Doomsday Budget'

The full board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved a plan Wednesday that calls for fare increases and drastic service cuts.

The MTA says the fare hikes are needed to help close a $1.2 billion budget gap. According to MTA officials, the increases and cuts could be avoided if state lawmakers back a last-minute bailout deal.

"Neither the board nor the senior staff of the MTA would be advancing these measures if we had any other choice," says MTA Executive Director and CEO Elliot Sander.

Under the plan, a single ride on city subways and Bee-Line buses will rise from $2 to $2.50. A 30-day MetroCard will go up $22, from $81 to $103. The fare hikes are expected to affect some 200,000 riders in Westchester County alone.

Fares on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North will rise an average of 23 percent, and tolls on the MTA's bridges and tunnels will increase.

The board also approved service cuts, including the elimination of bus routes and subway lines. In addition, the plan includes the layoffs of about 1,100 transit workers.

The measures that were approved by the MTA are expected to go into effect June 1, but New York City Comptroller William Thompson says it is not too late for Gov. David Paterson and state legislators to "stop the clock."

MTA Budget DetailsWestchester residents react to MTA fare hikes

To watch the full hearing, go to Channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

For a video of MTA board voting on fare hikes, go to Channel 612 and select iO Extra.

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