Eliot Spitzer put out a statement commending the M.T.A. for its proposed budget, saying it is keeping the cost of transit affordable.
“By holding the $2 fare as I had requested, reducing the amount needed to purchase a bonus Metrocard, and introducing the 14-day pass, the MTA has put forward a range of options to ensure the system remains affordable.”
Which makes things sound slightly simpler than they actually are. “[H]olding the line on the base fare," William Neuman writes in the Times, "meant that the necessary increase in revenue would have to be derived from other slices of the fare pie.”
Spitzer’s statement in full:
I commend MTA Chair Dale Hemmerdinger and MTA Executive Director and CEO Lee Sander on the hard work that they and their staff have put into developing a fiscally responsible 2008 budget. Fare increases are a difficult reality, but they have been diligent in their efforts to save the base fare at $2, limit the increase on discount Metrocards, and ease the burden on those who are least able to afford any hike. They combed through the budget to find savings and also to identify revenues to keep fare and toll increases to a level that is fair to the users of the system.
We all know the challenges that our transit system faces. The fare increase will be used to maintain an adequate level of service, ensure the safety of the system, and meet the challenges of growing ridership. By holding the $2 fare as I had requested, reducing the amount needed to purchase a bonus Metrocard, and introducing the 14-day pass, the MTA has put forward a range of options to ensure the system remains affordable.
I urge the MTA Board to adopt the proposed budget at their meeting next week.
We must now turn our efforts to the long-term funding of the state’s transportation infrastructure, including the needs of the MTA. We need to invest, not only to maintain the system we have, but to make the necessary improvements to grow the system through the 2nd Avenue Subway, East Side Access, Access to Regions Core, and a new Moynihan Station – projects that will ensure the system serves the 21st Century economy. The report due in January by the Congestion Mitigation Commission is the first step in that process.
I look forward to working with Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Bruno on developing the MTA plan.
UPDATE: Bloomberg weighs in.