On Tuesday, MTA chairman Joe Lhota announced a roughly $800 million emergency plan to fix the New York City subway system. It details actionable strategies that aim to immediately address some of the most pressing issues on the subway but leaves one big questions unanswered: Who the hell is going to pay for this?
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lhota have called for Mayor Bill de Blasio to sign off on a fifty-fifty split for the plan, but the mayor isn't even close to approving it. At an MTA board meeting on Wednesday, the authority's chief financial officer Robert Foran pitched a different solution that's sure to infuriate every straphanger in the city. According to the New York Times, Foran said that the MTA plans to raise fares and tolls in 2019 and 2021 to fund the costly repairs.
The idea of hiking fares received pushback from the rest of the board, Lhota included, but without proper funding the authority may not have a choice.
The MTA's latest fare hike went into effect in March, with the cost of 30-day passes rising from $116.50 to $121 and seven-day passes going up from $31 to $32. The cost of a single ride remained at $2.75.
The MTA board considers raising fares every two years, and at Wednesday's board meeting Foran called for hikes to the tune of four percent the next two times the issue is up for debate.
Cuomo and de Blasio are currently in a game of political chicken over who is responsible for paying for the MTA's emergency plan, and it could end up costing subway riders in the long run. On Thursday, Cuomo reiterated the State's commitment to fund 50 percent of the plan and called on de Blasio to pony up the other half.
At some point, something's got to give—let's just hope it doesn't mean more costly MetroCards.