In the spring, after bitter negotiations, lawmakers in Albany approved a temporary fix for the M.T.A.’s budget gap, preventing the “doomsday” scenario the agency had warned against.
Well, doomsday is back. The M.T.A. is proposing the same set of cuts, and could approve them as soon as next week if Albany doesn’t race into action.
The problem, it seems, is that the state [corrected] miscalculated how much revenue a payroll tax would produce—by a measure of about $200 million. And then lawmakers cut $143 million from the agency’s budget as part of its Deficit Reduction Plan.
So the agency is currently $343 million short, and once again, it’s talking about cutting dozens of buses, along with shuttering some stations overnight, and axing two trains—the Z and the W. (The latter some might not be sad to see go. [ed note: Screw that.])
“We’re not going to rely on anyone else to do anything for us. We’re going to rely on ourselves,” an M.T.A. board member told the Daily News.
A plan to enact new bridge tolls was stonewalled in the spring—and is unlikely to get any further now—so it’s unclear how the state would close the deficit. And it’s unlikely they would be able to do it quickly, since the chairman of the state Senate’s transportation committee said he didn’t even know about it until recently.
“It is an affront to our burgeoning partnership, often discussed in previous months, to exclude us from this critical information,” Senator Martin Dilan wrote in a letter to M.T.A. C.E.O. Jay Walder. “It appears, even under new leadership, that business will continue as usual with Gary Dellaverson assuming the addition role of press secretary for the MTA. Instead of a cooperative exchange of thoughts and information, we may be left with an adversarial relationship played out in the press. While this may be good for newspaper revenues, it will not be good for the State of New York.”