MTA May Need Another Fare Hike, State Official Warns

Andrew Siff

NBC New York

Nov 9, 2017

Something may be arriving ahead of schedule, and it’s not your train.

In a report released Thursday, State Comptroller Tom Dinapoli says the MTA desperately needs funding and that a feud between the city and state could leave commuters paying the price.

The audit finds that unless Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio solve their $800 million dispute over transit funding, “the system could deteriorate further, and fares and tolls could increase faster than already planned by the MTA.”

“I think the risk is very real,” said riders' advocate Nick Sifuentes. “If we don’t have an actual solution to fund the MTA, it’s going to be on the backs of riders.”

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota called the report a scare tactic.

“Funding subway repairs will not come on the backs of riders and the comptroller is fear-mongering by injecting unplanned fare increases into the public discourse,” Lhota said.

Dinapoli responded to Lhota, saying the report provides “a reality check.”

“I don’t think it has anything to do with fear mongering,” Dinapoli said. “It’s saying, folks, we really have an issue here, let’s come together.” Riders have already been told there may be a fare hike coming in 2019. Even if the funding problem is resolved, Dinapoli’s report says the MTA still needs billions of dollars to fix the signals and switches that caused so many issues for riders this year.

Sifuentes says the one silver-lining of the report is that those in charge seem to have finally gotten the message.

“The governor is talking about congestion pricing. We hear the mayor talking about a millionaire’s tax. I think they’re aware of the state of the crisis and trying to solve it,” Sifuentes said.