Officials: LIRR fare hike would be unfair

Elected officials on Long Island oppose the MTA's plan to raise Long Island Rail Road fares. They said a fare hike is unfair to riders, especially when the railroad's performance is at an all-time low over the past nearly two decades.

"We want to say enough is enough right now," said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. "Enough is enough."

A letter to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is calling for a forensic audit of the MTA or at the very least the LIRR.

Officials are also demanding the MTA put any proposed 2019 fare hike on hold through at least 2021 until visible improvements are made in service, equipment failures and delays. 

To protect commuters from facing even more disruptions due to loss of revenue, officials are creating legislation to provide operating money for the agency using dedicated state funding.

"My bill sets up a Long Island Rail Road commuter relief fund using $60 million of unappropriated settlement money that the state has collected," Sen. Elaine Phillips said.

The LIRR would be able to receive their share of this funding only if their average on-time performance and customer satisfaction scores increase with their next scheduled survey. A petition has also been created for riders to voice their concerns.

An MTA spokesperson said the Board makes the final determination on fare policy and that the agency is in a period of its greatest investment in the railroad and the Long Island economy.

The planned increase would be the seventh over the past 10 years.