Senate has new plan for MTA


   Senate Democrats unveiled a new proposal to bail out the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which has a budget deficit of at least $1.2 billion and has said it will have to raise fares by 25 percent or more if it doesn’t get help from the state. The MTA serves about 8.5 million people each weekday and serves New York City and seven suburban counties, including Westchester, Putnam and Rockland.

   Under the plan, which would raise $1.76 billion, there would be a $1-per-ride surcharge on taxi fares, including in the suburbs. There would be a tax of up to 34 cents for every $100 of payroll on employers in the MTA region, which would raise $1.49 billion. Counties that are farther away from New York City would pay slightly less, according to the Senate, but details were not immediately available. Half of the $190 million raised from cab fares would go to the MTA, and the other half would go toward road and bridge projects upstate and on Long Island.

   Fare hikes would be kept to 8 percent, the Senate said.

   Other parts of the proposal would:

   — Increase the auto-rental tax from 6 percent to 11 percent, which would raise $35 million.

   — Boost the fee for a driver’s license by 25 percent, an average increase of $12, which would bring in $10.5 million.

   — Place a $25 fee on motor-vehicle registration, which would raise $130 million.

   The plan does not include new tolls on the bridges that cross the East and Harlem rivers. The tolls and the payroll tax have been the most controversial measures proposed. 

   The Senate expects to vote on the legislation next week. Whether it will get enough votes to pass is unclear. Not all of the 32 Democrats are expected to vote for it. There are 30 Republican senators. 

   The Assembly and governor issued statements this evening that said they hadn’t yet had time to fully review the Senate proposal.


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