Photograph by awgreen on Flickr

With the MTA in dire financial straits, there's been lots of talk about ways to save the MTA, from a 23% fare hike and service cuts to tolling the now-free bridges over the East and Harlem Rivers. Now, Governor Paterson is reviewing a plan with recommendations on how to help the MTA and likes the ideas it offers so far. The plan, submitted by the Ravitch Commission, will be made public today, but the ideas apparently include:

  • An 8% fare increase (vs. the 23% on proposed earlier)--it's unclear how that would impact subway/bus base and unlimited Metrocard fares.
  • Tolls for the East and Harlem River Bridges
  • A corporate payroll tax, paid by businesses in the region, of less than 1%.

While it's unclear how lawmakers might react to a corporate tax (and some "told the Post that the idea was a non-starter"), Paterson said, "As an alternative to a fare hike, I think it's very viable.. [the commission] found a way to reduce the fare increases to 8% by distributing the responsibility among all those who use the service." He added, "We are in a very difficult fiscal time, and so it's either going to be fare hikes, or it's going to be tolls and a combination of payroll taxes."