Metrocards; Photo - Eric Chung

Let's go over some of the major money-related MTA stories:

- MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow says a Metricard fare hike is necessary. The last we remember, the fare hike would affect discounted Metrocards (yes, your unlimited weekly and monthly cards), but the article says the hike would increase fares by 14%...maybe that's in the discounted card revenue. Anyway, the MTA is still planning for the Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access, and No 7. Expansion. Gothamist also likes this fact about what shape the MTA's budget is in:

Over 22 years, the MTA's budget deficit has grown from $3 billion to more than $11 billion, while direct state aid has dropped from 19 percent to zero, according to reports by the Regional Plan Association and the state Comptroller's office. Next year, the MTA faces a $436-million budget deficit that is projected to balloon past $2 billion in 2008.

However, no matter how crazy these numbers are, we have to agree the state should be chipping in more. And the Straphangers agree that the MTA can't borrow anymore (they already borrowed $22 billion last year). Gothamist has visions of Chairman Kalikow knocking on the door of the Governor's mansion,

- Six MTA executives received raises last year, leading the Post to call them "fat cats" and bemoan the fact that the riders are going to get served with fare hikes. Now, raises of 25% aren't really a good thing when you're talking about a deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars, but Gothamist could perhaps understand these raises if these executives are figuring out ways to keep the fare hikes down. But...

- ...this news is less great in light of 600 token booth clerks losing their jobs, as the MTA continues to find ways to cut costs. The Daily News reports that 49 round-the-clock and 115 part-time booths will be closed. The MTA says that stations where booths have been closed have not seen any jumps in crime, but the NYC Transit Rider Council says, "People feel less safe when they don't see a token person there. Whether it is perception or reality, that's the way they feel."

Learn more about the MTA's Capital Construction plans, such as East Side Access (Grand Central to Long Island), the Second Avenue Subway, and the 7 train extension, plus the Fulton Transit Center and outh Ferry Terminal