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MTA bailout avoids ‘doomsday budget’

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The MTA board Monday approved the legislation passed last week by the state Legislature making unnecessary most of the MTA’s doomsday budget plan to impose large fare hikes and heavy service cuts.

The vote included approval of a 10 percent fare increase, which will start June 28 on subways and buses. Bridge and tunnel tolls will go up July 12.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Executive Director Elliot Sander, who has resigned, said: “The fare and toll increase passed today is not ideal, but it spares our customers from actions that would have been extraordinarily painful.”

The MTA board passed all three in a series of votes with several members voting no, mostly in protest against the 12−county payroll tax that was a key part of the Legislature’s plan to provide a permanent funding source for the MTA.

Without help from Albany, the MTA had said it would have to raise fares and tolls from 20 percent to 30 percent and impose draconian cuts in service, including shutting down the W and Z subway lines.

MTA leaders said some subway station clerk jobs would be abolished in an attempt to cut $200 million in expenses, but that would all be accomplished through attrition, not layoffs.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e−mail at news@timesledger.com or phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 136.

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