Paterson: We May Get the Whole $2 Billion

ALBANY—David Paterson just confirmed that lawmakers are now looking at an M.T.A. bailout of around $2 billion. That’s about $300 million more than the $1.7 billion framework agreed to last night by members of the State Senate.

“I think that that’s right,” Paterson said after an event announcing a car battery initiative. The $2 billion was the figure mentioned earlier by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “If that’s the case, I think that’s entirely accurate, we just have to try to get everybody to vote for it.”

Paterson was asked where the $300 million would come from, but declined to elaborate.

“I have my own ideas about that, and the legislature has theirs. And that’s what’s being negotiated,” he said. “I’d rather not go into that.”

I asked if bridge tolls—which were estimated to provide up to $400 million of revenue—were on the table.

“I wish they were,” Paterson said.

The $2 billion figure would be enough to cover the M.T.A.’s operating deficit–now estimated at about $1.8 billion–but would not set aside nearly as much revenue as the original Ravitch Plan, which would have raised $2.5 billion and counted on an authority operating deficit of only $1.2 billion.

Paterson: We May Get the Whole $2 Billion