New Metrocard Today

I just bought a new Metrocard, and was again reminded of how badly we monthy unlimited users were hosed in the fare hike.

I only bring it up because of yesterday’s news of a $3 billion deficit in the MTA budget.

Where the hell is all the money going? If there are millions of rides everyday, that means there’s millions in revenue everyday. However, it seems like that money is already spent before they even have it.

I also love how casually they say that the missing money was just for maintenance and repairs….nothing major. It’s the lack of repairs and maintenance that has caused the subway system to crumble in the first place!

Then you look around at stations like 59th Columbus Cirlce which is taking 2+ years to refurbish and you wonder what the hell is going on. They can build 30 story apartment buildings in a year, but they can’t pour fresh concrete and lay some tiles in less than 2 when it comes to the subway.

It’s a big scam.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Congestion Pricing Moves Forward to Albany

New York City Council has officially backed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan, which now moves forward to Albany for approval.

Just to recap, the plan would charge drivers an $8.00 fee for driving below 60th Street from 6am – 6pm. There are provisions in the plan which allow for credits when paying a toll to enter the city. So if you paid $6.00 to cross a bridge on the way into the city, for example, you would only owe an additional $2.00 that day.

However, if you were parked below 60th Street or otherwise already in the city and drove below 60th Street, you would be charged the full $8.00.

So what the hell does this have to do with the subway?

Well, the city stands to receive $354 million in federal funding to help launch the congestion pricing plan. This money would pay for the fee collection infrastructure, as well as fund initial mass transit improvements.

The goal with the congestion pricing plan is to encourage people to leave their cars at home more often, and rely on mass transit. Of course, this means that the transit system would need to increase service, and increase reliability. So much of the federal funding would go towards these initiatives…at least so they say.

So now the plan heads to Albany for state approval. The State Legislature is in the middle of finishing the budget, however the plan deadline is quickly approaching.

Congestion pricing needs to be approved by April 7th in order to obtain the federal funding.

Way back in July, State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno ironed out a deal with Spitzer to get the plan passed.  Let’s hope that still stands.

Those with the Most Money Vote for Everyone Else

Well this just about sums it all up:

At least five members of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s governing panel have seven-figure net worths. That’s nearly a third of the board empowered to vote on proposed hikes in subway, bus and commuter train fares.  [Daily News]

You know I’ve always had this idea kicking around in the back of my mind, but I never really got my hands around it. Why do the richest people make all the decisions for the poorest?

I guess that’s just life in all realms of politics, but you’d think there would be a little more flexibility on the local level. Why is it that the MTA Board is made up of wealthy people, a third of which are millionaires? For that matter, why is the MTA made up of so many people that don’t live in New York City? I know the MTA’s reach extends well beyond NYC, but the city sure does account for the bulk of that nugget.

What would it hurt to add a more representative face to the board? There should be members from all the boroughs, of varying economic class.

To be honest, the fare hike isn’t going to have an impact on my life. We’re talking a monthly increase equal to a cappuccino or two. But that’s just me. These millionaires are even more disconnected. It might not be a big deal for us, but I fear we are the minority.