Friday, October 16, 2009

New York MTA faces new budget woes

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The New York Metropolitan Transportation Agency faces a $113 million cut in state funding in the new fiscal year if the legislature accepts Gov. David A. Paterson's plan for dealing with a looming state deficit.

The MTA cut is part of a $2 billion reduction in state funding that Paterson said Thursday he will propose for the fiscal year that begins next April. The reduction would help close a projected state deficit that has now ballooned to $3 billion.

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MTA, a state agency that operates the New York City subways, the Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad, has been struggling with its own daunting defects. The agency has imposed sizeable fare increases and some service cuts. A financial plan released July 29 projected cash balances of $29 million in 2009, $39 million in 2010, and $1 million in 2011, and "manageable deficits for 2012 and 2013."

At that time, MTA said that "significant spending restraints, building on the substantial expense reduction taken in 2009, [will] save $64 million in 2010 and grow to $279 million by 2013."

That is the context in which MTA received news of a substantial loss of millions of dollars in state funding for the new fiscal year. The agency had no immediate comment.