In Albany, someone needs to take remedial accounting: Apparently the state miscalculated how much the MTA would get from a payroll tax associated with the bailout and it turns out the transit agency is getting at least $200 million less than expected. MTA Chief Financial Officer Gary Dellaverson told board members in an e-mail, "This is a shocking development both because of the magnitude of the under-run and the late date of its discovery." It's also shocking because it'll probably mean service cuts!
Last week, MTA CEO Jay Walder promised there would be no fare hike for 2010, in spite of a $143 million budget shortfall, thanks to Albany's crappy deficit. But now, the Daily News says, "The MTA may have to revive some of the service cuts it drafted but cancelled after the state enacted a bailout package, including the payroll tax, in May. Those cuts included elimination of dozens of local bus routes with low ridership, extending the gaps between trains during off-peak hours, shutting down some express bus routes and a handful of lower Manhattan stations overnight."
Some riders had mixed reactions: One told NY1, "The buses don't run on schedule as it is. So cutting a bus line would make it even worse," while another said, "To me, it doesn't really matter because I take rush hour trains. So if they make cuts, they'll still probably be pretty frequent."
Dellaverson also said in his e-mail, "As recently as last week, the state was continuing to advise us of their comfort with the [much rosier] forecast," and that the MTA would "roll this problem into 2010 [with] cash management actions like delaying pension payments and other timing variances." The Straphangers Campaign issued a statement, calling the budget shortfalls were not the MTA's fault and called "on Governor Paterson to investigate whether New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has adequately administered and enforced the new payroll tax."