NEW YORK – Any possible fare increase on the Metro-North Railroad and the other transportation systems operated by the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority won’t be known until the board votes on them early next year.
The board did, however, approve the $16.7 billion agency budget for 2019 recently.
While all but two members voted for the spending plan – the other two abstained – many weighed in on the financial condition of the MTA.
“We can’t go on like this. We need a massive restructuring of the MTA,” said Board Member Andrew Saul. He suggested among other belt tightening measures consideration of merging Metro-North with its sister line, the Long Island Rail Road.
After the meeting, Board Chairman Fernando Ferrer said don’t hold your breath for a possible merger of those two lines.
“Things like merging two railroads completely is easier said than done and that’s not done in two weeks and to suggest anything approximating that really is misleading,” he said. “But, we are looking at all these opportunities and if we can’t have actual mergers, have merging of functions.”
Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor deBlasio have stated their opposition to a fare and toll hike, but Ferrer said the MTA will have to close a budget gap going forward and the board will look at the increases early next year.