MTA Stimulus Plan Announced
"The plan - presented in a 19-page report [pdf] - would permit automatic, inflation-adjusted fare and toll increases every two years without public hearings, ending what [Commission on Metropolitan Transportation Authority Financing leader Richard] Ravitch called a cyclical "political circus." The plan would allow for a state takeover of the city-owned Harlem River and East River bridges, which have historically been free to drivers. The new tolls would be collected electronically, without toll booths.
The regional mobility tax - 33 cents on every $100 of payroll - would provide $1.5 billion a year, and the tolls would produce $600 million in net revenue a year ($1 billion a year in gross revenue minus expenses), Mr. Ravitch said. The new revenue streams would help finance borrowing for a $30 billion-to-$35 billion M.T.A. capital plan for 2010 to 2014 that would help stimulate the economy while maintaining vital infrastructure.
'This is a major stimulus bill to New York State,' Mr. Ravitch said at a morning news conference at the governor's office in Midtown Manhattan. 'The number of projects being canceled and terminated as a result of inadequate financing,' he said, is 'adding enormously to all the other problems this financial crisis has imposed on everybody.'"