New York’s cash strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved a package of service cuts at its board meeting yesterday to help close a $800 million current year deficit.
Voting 11 to 2, board members enacted slightly fewer reductions to commuter train, bus and subway service than had been approved in December when voted on the MTA’s 2010 operating budget.
Following a series of contentious public hearings, the authority preserved some services and cut $93 million of services rather the $101 million originally approved.
“The service cuts that were put in place today will inevitably involve pain for our customers,” chairman and chief executive officer Jay Walder said a press conference following the meeting.
“The issue here is the deterioration in monies that are coming into tax revenues to the MTA and $143 million that was cut from the MTA’s dedicated taxes and diverted to the [state’s] general fund,” he added.
In addition to fares and tolls, the MTA relies on economically sensitive taxes including real estate taxes that have declined in the recession and a new payroll tax that has performed less favorably than expected when enacted last year.
The state last year also cut $143 million of previously appropriated funds to help close its own budget deficit.
Walder said the MTA is looking for ways to cut expenses to deal with its budget gap.
A controversial proposal to eliminate free and discounted bus and subway passes for students won’t begin to take effect until fall.