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MTA confronts $1.2 billion in red ink

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Finance Committee met in a special session Monday and was told the agency faces a $1.2 billion budget gap heading into next year.

MTA chief Elliot Sander said the new financial numbers released Monday were “sobering” and he held out the probability that if  the governor and the Legislature offer no financial help, fare hikes increases higher than already announced and service cuts will become imperative. The fare increase set for next summer is now 8 percent.

Sander was non-committal on reports that a state commission is still considering tolls on East River  bridges.

The MTA Finance Committee did not say what measures it might take to deal with the financial straits. That plan is scheduled to be  announced at the regular meeting Nov.17.

MTA Financial Officer Gary Dellaverson presided over a slide show reviewing in detail the loss of hundreds of  millions of dollars in real estate taxes and other revenue sources in the last  few months as the result of the economic slowdown.

The Ravitch Commission, appointed by Gov. David Paterson to recommend ways to ease the MTA’s financial situation, is due to release its  report Dec.5.

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