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MTA prepares to present latest fare and toll increases

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It is often said that the subways built New York City. It's time now to build the subways again.

A record 6 million rides were logged 5 times in September. The system marked its 110th anniversary.

As the MTA prepares for the hearings to discuss the 2015 fare and toll increase, MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast addressed the General Contractors Association of New York.

The Chairman says the agency has made a list of needs and investments and now has to seek the funding. The MTA's $32 billion Capital Plan outlines projects, repairs and projects for the next five years. It is only half funded.

Prendergast says he will work to convince all stakeholders and that includes New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, elected leaders and the public. Fare increases every other year have been included in MTA budgets. Prendergast announced a 4% increase in 2015 and 2017, in keeping with typical cost-of-living increases.

During a panel discussion with the General Contractors Association of New York, Executive Director Denise Richardon highlighted the regional economic importance of critical infrastructure investments.

Seth Pinksy, Executive VP at RXR Realty, Former President of NYC Economic Development Corporation, called for a better public relations campaign to help sell the benefits of the system.

Carol Kellermann, President of the Citizens Budget Commission, offered some advice by suggesting the transit system is a good deal compared to the price increases impacting other every day commodities. A study from the watchdog group recommends the MTA adjust the plan's priorities to serve the most riders.

Riders will be able to participate in the public hearings to address fare and toll hikes. They will be scheduled at the end of November.