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Hannon Slams MTA Fare Hikes

Dear Editor of the Pioneer:
I would like to take this oppurtunity to express my staunch objection to an MTA fare increases. As a college student, you are trying to do more with less. Now your commute to campus or to your internship is increased? It’s outrageous.
The MTA’s plan includes an average increase of more than 8 percent in ticket and toll prices. Given the ways the MTA has already managed to tax the paychecks of New Yorkers, I find this measure to be completely unacceptable.
Additionally, the MTA will be considering several options regarding the pricing of bus and subway fares. The MTA says that the base fare will remain $2.25. The price of a monthly, unlimited-ride MetroCard is currently $89; the MTA will be looking at various pricing scenarios, including offering a new, limited ride monthly MetroCard at $99 or $104, as well as a more costly unlimited pass. A 7-day MetroCard (unlimited) is now $27, and it could go as high as $38.
When I voted against the $2.2 billion MTA bailout plan and the eregious MTA Payroll Tax in May of 200, I said repeatedly it was an unjust attempt to drive up costs for commuters while doing nothing to reform the wasteful spending of the MTA that has led us to the fare increases now being proposed.
Adding insult to injury, New York State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli reported that MTA overtime costs soared 26 percent between 2005 and 2009. MTA overtime pay rose $468 million to $590 million, during which, 3,200 workers rceived overtime pay equivalent to half their yearly salary. More than 140 workers doubled their salary with overtime work. Overall MTA spending has grown at an average annual rate of 7 percent during the past five years, more than twice the rate of inflation. The MTA’s outstanding debt totals about $27.5 billion, 54 percent higher than it was five years earlier.
It’s clear that the MTA won’t be able to fix these deep-seated problems by throwing more money at them. We must reform the MTA before another dollar is taken from commuters traveling to and from Long Island.
Election Day is just weeks away. Stay informed and cast your vote. College students have the power to make a difference.
Kemp Hannon
Senator, 6th District – New York

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