Tolls on East and Harlem River bridges, which were reported off the table, are back under consideration in negotiations on a financial rescue for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Albany.
Meanwhile, state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Padavan) released a letter to Gov. David Paterson complaining that he and other Republican senators had been frozen out of the talks on an MTA bailout plan.
The MTA, facing a $1.28 billion budget gap, has said that it must hike the basic bus and subway fare by as much as 50 cents May 31 with heavy cuts in transit service to follow .
Legislative supporters of bridge tolls have revised their proposal to give a break to motorists seeking medical treatment as well as ambulances and businesses, according to legislative sources.
The revised plan would also include a 50-cent surcharge on taxi fares in New York City as well as an increase in the tax on Manhattan parking garages, the sources said.
Senate opponents, including three Democrats—Sens. Carl Kruger of Brooklyn, Pedro Espada of the Bronx and Ruben Diaz of the Bronx—said they were not impressed with the compromise plan.
Padavan wrote to Paterson:
“Despite recent published reports and assertions to the contrary, Republican senators, including myself, have been completely excluded from any discussions surrounding a comprehensive fiscal plan for the MTA.
“This current course of action has failed and is detrimental not only to the legislative process, but it has also hindered any possible resolution of this important issue.”
Padavan asked Paterson to”call on Speaker (Sheldon) Silver (D-Manhattan) and Senate Majority leader (Malcolm) Smith (D-St. Albans) to start genuine bipartisan discussions among all state legislators that will hopefully forge a fair and equitable solution for the problems facing the MTA.”
He added< “I stand ready to work with you and my legislative colleagues on building a financial rescue plan that puts the MTA in sound and strong fiscal standing today and in the future.”
Republicans in both houses of the Legislature have opposed any suggested plans for rescuing the MTA while a few Senate Democrats in the Senate, who have a slim majority, have balked at the rescue proposals.
©2009 Community News Group
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