MTA details plans for public transit, bridge and tunnel toll hikes

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The MTA on Thursday released its proposals for a transit fare and toll hikes.

The agency laid out two options, the first of which would keep the base fare for subway and bus rides at $2.75 but would more sharply increase weekly and monthly passes.

The second option would raise the base fare to $3 but would add better bonuses for passes.

As for commuter rails (LIRR and Metro North), fares would also be going up about 4 percent.

The MTA is also suggesting increasing bridge tolls by double the usual hike, 8 percent, to fund capital projects. They are proposing both 4 percent and 8 percent increases, as well as a reduction of E-ZPass discounts.

A final vote is expected in January.

The MTA also said it will cut $41 million from subway and bus service in 2020, under "service guideline adjustments."

"We dont want to go down this road," Transit Authority President Andy Byford said. "We absolutely do not."

The MTA is in serious financial deficit, and officials say that even with a 4 percent fare and toll hikes for 2019 and 2021, the MTA is forecasting nearly a $1 billion budget gap by 2022.

If there is no 4 percent fare and toll hike, "We're just going to make the hole that much bigger," MTA finance chief Bob Foran said.

Bus and subway ridership is down, with possible reasons including late night and weekend tracks work, competition from ride-share apps, fare evasion, E-commerce and telecommuting.

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