The future of the MTA's high-tech projects

December 3, 2009 3:44:07 PM PST
There is some good news for fare-hike weary bus and subway riders. No fare hikes are planned for next year. At least not yet. But the MTA is still faced with a carload of money problems and may have to scale back on some of its high-tech projects.

Despite a $140 million cut from Albany this week, the MTA is moving ahead on a high-tech future, especialy with buses getting new express lanes, security cameras on board, coundown clocks and smart cards you'll tap instead of swipe.

"I think it's great, you know," bus rider Sherman Benjamin said. "Technology, the shelters, very nice, cool."

The big worry at the MTA is that there's still about $10 billion in new projects planned, but nobody knows how to pay for it all. It could mean some of those high-tech plans might have to be scaled back a bit.

One senator questioned the new clocks. He claims they'll cost about $200 million systemwide.

"A very nice idea, but New Yorkers, whether you're a suburbanite commuter or you live in the five boroughs, have been living without time clocks for a number of years," Senator Craig Thompson said. "It seems a little bit like a luxury."

But the MTA's new chairman wasn't backing down.

"And I have to tell you, when I first arrived at the MTA, people kept telling me the MTA doesn't do technology," Jay Walder said. "Well, that's simply not acceptable."

Walder promised that depsite cuts from albany, no fare hike is planned for 2010.

The question is, how long can the MTA hold the line on a fare hike and keep building the new high-tech system?

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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