The State Senate’s MTA Financing Plan Doesn’t Add Up

Here’s one little problem with the Kruger, Diaz, Espada, Monserrate MTA financing plan: They got the math wrong.

The State Senators (for convenience sake, let just refer to them "The Fare Hike Four" from now on) say they can satisfy the MTA’s short-term financing needs with a four percent fare and toll hike and a small payroll tax increase. The MTA says that math doesn’t work, according to Reuters:

The MTA’s chairman, H. Dale Hemmerdinger, estimated the
Senate plan would force the agency to raise fares and tolls by
17 percent — about four times more than the Senate calculated
– as it would only raise about $1 billion more.

I suppose it comes down to a question of who do you trust more with the numbers, Richard Ravitch or four venal, old pols in the nation’s most dysfunctional state legislature? If that’s a tough call for you, then it’s probably worth noting that Ravitch spent considerably more time working out his financing plan than did The Fare Hike Four. As Kathy Wylde at the Parternship for New York City says:

The State Senate has had almost a year to join the public discussion of funding for the transportation system. They waited until the very end of the process to come forward with a proposal that provides not a nickel for system maintenance and badly needed expansion of bus service, let alone a full capital program. It is time for both sides of the Senate — Democrat and Republican — to join the Governor and the Assembly in support of some version of the Ravitch Commission Plan.