Fare Hike 2011: It’s Official

rider_rebellion

Advocates with Transportation Alternatives' Rider Rebellion Campaign outside MTA HQ this morning. The Rider Rebellion aims to build a coalition that will pressure Albany to enact better transit policy. Photo: Noah Budnick

The monthly unlimited Metrocard will break the $100 barrier on January 1, following today’s 12-2 MTA Board vote to balance the agency’s budget by enacting a package of fare increases. (Get full details on the fare hike package from Ben Kabak.)

NY1′s John Mancini reports that the MTA Board faced some predictably withering public testimony this morning. But the real culprits weren’t even in the room — they’re at home or in their district offices while the state legislature is in recess.

With the bottom falling out of the MTA’s dedicated revenue streams three years ago, fare hikes and service cuts have sometimes felt like an unavoidable outcome of the recession, but it didn’t have to be this way. Would fares be rising at the same time that service is shrinking if Sheldon Silver and the Assembly had passed congestion pricing in 2008? Would this be happening if Pedro Espada and the fractious State Senate had allowed bridge tolls to be included in the 2009 MTA funding package? What if Albany hadn’t swiped more than $100 million in dedicated transit taxes from the MTA last December (a maneuver that legislators can repeat whenever they want)?

Looks like Board members are trying to get these same questions out there. Take a look at some highlights from the meeting, courtesy of the Twitter feed from Transportation Alternatives’ Noah Budnick, who’s building some awareness for TA’s Rider Rebellion campaign:

MTA board member Norman Seabrook, “Congestion pricing could’ve been the answer to the people of this city.”

MTA board member/transit rider rep Andrew Albert opposes the fare hike, calls for congestion pricing, E.River bridge tolls.

MTA board mbr Blair, “the riders have paid & paid…we need to ask those who have abdicated responsibility to step up.” Who?

MTA board mbr Michael Pally “Washington & Albany come & help us avert the fare hikes & service cuts.”

MTA brd mbr Susan Kuppferman “#Albany, we’ve done everything we can. We need your help” or else more hikes & cuts will come