FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2007
STATEMENT BY MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG ON PROPOSED MTA FARE HIKE
"Based on the information that my staff and I have received and reviewed over the past few weeks, I am now satisfied that the MTA budget is a responsible plan that includes important cost reductions. I agree with Governor Spitzer that this fare increase is necessary to maintain an adequate level of service and balance the needs and obligations of all who use this critical part of the region's infrastructure. Although it is always hard to ask riders to pay more, I will now urge the City's representatives to support the proposed fare plan that calls for preserving the $2.00 fare and holding the overall fare increase to less than 4%. This was something we couldn't support until we'd done everything possible to lower operating expenses and to ensure efficiencies.
"The MTA's reductions in 2008 total about $140 million, approximately the same reduction in controllable expenses I am asking of Mayoral agencies. The MTA's financial plan includes out-year reduction targets, but uncertainties in the economy, which we will monitor carefully in coming months, may require further cost containment. MTA management has agreed to propose to its Board that next year's service increase program will not be implemented until the first quarter's tax and other revenues are reviewed. While I hope that those service increases will be able to proceed, it is prudent to insure that funds are available to support these new initiatives. Further, MTA has committed to redoubling its efforts to reduce inefficiencies and redundancies.
"The MTA plan currently has specified $11 million in additional cost efficiencies to take effect in '09 and an additional unspecified target of $140 million. I have the commitment of Chairman Hemmerdinger and Executive Director Sander that they will promptly initiate a process which will include my designated Board members, particularly City Budget Director Mark Page, to identify specific measures to realize those savings. One promising program that is underway at the MTA is their 'shared services' initiative. The MTA is an amalgam of six separate operating agencies and I support their efforts to achieve efficiencies by consolidating 'back office' functions.
"We all now need to turn to the next MTA capital plan. We must ensure that the next capital program not only continues to maintain the system but provides the funding for the system expansion that is essential for the growth of the City and the region. In the coming months, the MTA is required to submit its next five year capital plan. Not only do I look forward to working with the MTA in preparing that plan, I have asked the Governor to begin laying the structural groundwork for that plan in his executive budget, in anticipation of a new revenue source to be proposed by the congestion mitigation commission."
Stu Loeser/John Gallagher (212) 788-2958