MTA to delay fare hikes until 2022, says key Cuomo adviser

More On:

fare hikes

April toll hike coming to MTA bridges, tunnels in NYC

Fare fight: Here’s how much the MTA says its losing by delaying an increase

MTA hits brakes on controversial fare hikes

$4.2 billion only keeps the MTA on life support

The MTA will wait until next year to raise transit fares — after a key board appointee of Gov. Andrew Cuomo weighed in Monday against increasing costs for riders.

“There’s not going to be a fare hike in 2021,” Larry Schwartz, the MTA’s finance chair and a key adviser to the governor, told reporters at MTA headquarters Monday afternoon.

“This is the time we need to increase ridership. We need to get everyone back on our buses and our trains and our subways,” Schwartz said.

“This would send the wrong message to be raising fares right now.”

Subway ridership has cratered during the COVID-19 pandemic, making a huge dent in the MTA’s finances. Board members voted in January to delay biennial fare increases — which are not required by law — but opted to raise tolls on bridges and tunnels.

Schwartz’s comments came after the MTA’s monthly finance committee meeting, where he called on the next mayor, city council and state legislature to come up with new revenue streams for the city’s subways and buses. He suggested a tax on AirBnB.

“Tourism is coming back,” Schwartz said. “Now is the time to figure it out. Now is the time to work with everyone to come up with the best and brightest ideas, to come up with a new way of structuring fares. Now is not the time to raise fares.”

The MTA is not obligated by law to raise fares and tolls, but has every two years since 2009 as part of an agreement with state lawmakers.

Other board members echoed Schwartz’s push against fare hikes.

“It would be embarrassing after the billions we’ve seen coming from the city, state and MTA to suddenly raise fares,” said David Jones, an appointee of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Schwartz previously served as the top aide to Cuomo, who effectively controls the MTA through his appointees on the board and in MTA leadership.

The top Cuomo aide served as the state’s COVID-19 vaccine czar until April — when he resigned amid criticism over his role running interference for the governor in the wake of several scandals including multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

Transit officials have said the MTA loses $5 million for every month it delays fare hikes.

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article