The MTA has suddenly "found" some money, thanks to higher-than-expected tax revenues, which means the proposed fare hikes and service cuts won't be as bad as previously thought. The magically appearing $400 million will ensure that a monthly Metrocard will go from $70 to $76 (versus $84), token both clerks will be "redeployed" instead of laid-off (but the 150 booths will still close), and another 900 layoffs will be avoided. The weekly Metrocard will still increase from $21 to $24. The windfall is mostly attributed to real-estate taxes ($160 million of the $300 million in state subsidies). Still, the MTA needs to find more revenue sources and is quick to note that it faces a $1.4 billion deficit. Yeah, there's no way we can forget that. So, while we are happy that we won't have to deal with a 20% increase in our monthly Metrocard's cost, Gothamist would love it if the MTA could get their act together. The Straphangers say a reserve should be set aside for "very seriously probable contingencies," and considering that MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow is going around, talking about how riders should expect fares to increase every other year, maybe it's time they figure out plans that won't make riders so angry.

There are public hearings about fare hikes this Monday in Staten Island and this Tuesday at El Museo del Barrio in Manhattan.