The State Senate and Assembly passed the $2.26 billion plan to bail out the MTA by way of a big payroll tax, a series of fare hikes spread over a few years (think of it as doomsday spread between 2009 and 2013) and numerous other surcharges, including a 50-cent taxi dropoff fee and increased costs for a driver's license. There will be no major service cuts; capital projects are only partially funded in the plan. Governor Paterson is expected to sign the plan; Paterson said, "[Commuters] have suffered, feeling that there would be dramatic increases in fares and service cuts that would actually, in the catchment area in which some lived, would almost prohibit them from getting to work."

Of course, the plan has its detractors, namely Republican State Senators who opposed Senate Democrats' counter-proposal to previous plans that included taxing East and Harlem River Bridges. The Post reports Senator Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) said, "It's a runaway spend- ing train followed by the runaway taxing train," to which Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith said, "Do we agree that the MTA is a runaway train? Is the MTA broken? Absolutely. We don't like the MTA either. We have to do something. Because you [the MTA] left us with this mess, we had nothing left to do but to try to fix it."

Assembly Speaker Sheldon SIlver, who had supported tolling bridges, said the plan "achieves what we set to achieve - reverse the exorbitant fare increases and the outrageous service cuts that we would be faced with." And MTA CEO and Executive Director Lee Sander was also satisfied, telling the Daily News, "Given the state's economic circumstances, the political factors that were in play, it's a good outcome. It puts us on a stable footing for the next several years." The new plan also affects Sander's job: His position will be merged with that of the chairman (currently Dale Hemmerdinger). It's unclear who will be #1 at the MTA.

And while it's unclear whether this plan will be effective, Richard Ravitch, who developed a comprehensive suggestions for the MTA to avoid doomsday, seemed to approve, "After a difficult time under difficult circumstances, they essentially adopted the principles that were outlined in the commission that I had the honor to chair and in the report that we gave."