MTA continues to face financial struggles despite fare hike proposals

NEW YORK — Even with a proposed fare hike for next year and a new surcharge for taxi and for-hire car trips in Manhattan, the MTA says the agency’s finances are on track to be in the worst shape seen in decades, with Chairman Joe Lhota adding it will even take more than the congestion pricing program Governor Cuomo is considering next year.

However, Lhota says the financial situation will not affect service.

“We are not going to go backwards with the way decisions were made in the past about delaying repairs, delaying maintenance. Those days are over,” he said.

The MTA is starting at a $262 million budget gap in 2020 that will grow to $634 million by 2022. That’s even taking into consideration two four-percent fare hikes proposed for 2019 and 2021.

Those semi-annual increases announced in July would constitute the sixth and seventh hikes since 2009.

New York City’s transit already has $123 million worth of cuts proposed that includes fewer staffed station booths, and late-night bus services at the Staten Island ferry.

Lhota says he wants to avoid fare hikes and service cuts to close budget gaps, but the reality is they are facing declining ridership and real estate taxes that brought in less money than expected.