MTA board opposes biennial fare hike, despite costly action plan

Ann Santiago
July 28, 2017

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was "encouraged" by the plan unveiled by Lhota, who recently was appointed chairman of the agency.

The public feud over the subway continued Wednesday, with Transport Workers Union Local 100 releasing a campaign-style television advertisement criticizing Blasio for not agreeing to finance the plan.

De Blasio on Wednesday said he knows nothing about the email, which is time stamped 10:53PM Saturday.

Joseph Lhota, chairman of the state's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the subways, said any company that sponsors a highly trafficked station in Manhattan would also be asked to take responsibility for stops in far-flung residential neighborhoods.

Cuomo ordered an investigation of the Con Edison infrastructure in the subway system in April, after a power failure in midtown Manhattan snagged morning commuters.

Lhota said the second phase of the plan would focus on modernizing the system, a much more massive and costly undertaking, and would be outlined in the coming weeks.

Cuomo said the state would commit to paying 50 percent of that fix program and that he was making the money available immediately.

The head of New York City's transit agency on Tuesday unveiled an $836 million plan to stabilize the beleaguered subway system, and promised that riders would see progress within the next year.

"There is no time for delay, and there is no tolerance for lack of commitment on this issue", Cuomo added.

- Mayor Bill de Blasio's subway ride on Sunday was meant to send a message to the MTA. New Yorkers need help, and they need it now. He dismissed Cuomo's assertion that the state contributed $5 billion for operations because it includes $4.7 billion in dedicated taxes for MTA riders from the MTA region, including $2.9 million from New York City residents and $300 million in direct state operating support. The MTA proposes splitting the cost 50-50 between the state and the city, but de Blasio has dug in his heels and believes the city should not have to pay for the vast array of improvements.

But voters were split about why Cuomo and de Blasio are fighting in the first place - 42% say it's about honest disagreement over doing what's best for the city and 41% think it's personal.

"It was clearly the sense of the board that we need to replace the biennial fare increases with a new stream of revenue", Mr. Lhota said in an interview.

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