Fare hikes off the table, but MTA considering major service cuts in 2023

Budget woes dominated the MTA's first public board meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began in February of 2020.

The agency says that federal aid will help fill a $50B deficit, but other revenue streams will have to be considered. Without extra funds, the MTA forecasted a deficit of $605M in 2025, even after the use of $2.9B of deficit bond proceeds. 

While fare hikes that were set to be implemented this fall are no longer being considered, the MTA said that service reductions will likely be implemented in 2023. 

Congestion pricing is estimated to generate about $15B by placing a toll on vehicles that enter Manhattan south of 60th Street. However, critics, including Mayor Bill de Blasio have accused the MTA of dragging its feet on making congestion pricing a reality.

Crime was another major concern at Wednesday's meeting. Officials said that while assaults are up from June of last year, overall crime on the subway is down, fueled by the increased presence of police.

Agency officials say subway ridership is up but is still nowhere near pre-pandemic levels. The MTA says it is also dealing with system-wide service delays brought on by a staffing shortage.

A hiring freeze was partly to blame, but that freeze was lifted in March and officials say they are trying to hire more personnel, but it has not been easy.

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