Officials from New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority next month will submit an 18-month fiscal plan to help close a $621 million budget gap for fiscal 2009 and address a deficit of more than $1 billion for fiscal 2010, which begins Jan. 1.
Board members will receive the proposal at the next board meeting on May 27 and vote on the fiscal plan the following month, with the new budget to begin July 1. The 18-month proposal will revise the final six months of the MTA's fiscal 2009 budget and offer an early fiscal plan for 2010 so that officials can address the larger $1 billion shortfall as soon as possible, according to spokesman Jeremy Soffin.
"The creation of a new budget for 2010 starting mid-year will allow us to get a head start on some of the measures that need to be taken to bring the budget into balance," he said.
Fares are set to increase on May 31 to help close a prior $1.2 billion deficit. As for how the authority will tackle the additional shortfalls, Soffin said that "everything is on the table," including further fare hikes and service reductions.
The authority expects to receive $336 million and $221 million less in real estate tax revenue and fare revenue, respectively, for the remainder of the year. In addition, state dedicated tax revenue will come in $113 million below prior projections.
A state bailout plan would help the MTA avoid drastic fare hikes and service reductions set for May 31. The Senate is working on a $1.76 billion rescue plan for the authority that would also finance transportation needs in upstate New York and Long Island, and may vote on the bill next week.
Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, canceled a business trip to Puerto Rico due to family illnesses. Although not diagnosed with swine flu, Smith's wife and daughter have come down with flu-like symptoms. Smith's daughter attends St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, where health officials have confirmed 28 cases of swine flu.
The Senate plan does not address MTA's additional $621 million fiscal 2009 deficit or its $1 billion-plus fiscal 2010 shortfall.
An earlier plan supported by Gov. David Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, and crafted from suggestions made by a blue-ribbon panel headed by former MTA chairman Richard Ravitch, would offer more assistance by generating roughly $2.2 billion of aid just for the authority.