TEXT OF STORY
Bob Moon: New York City’s transit agency, the MTA, holds a meeting today, to reveal their preliminary budget for 2009. And it includes some unwelcome news for commuters. Bus, rail and subway fares are set to go up for the second time in two years. And New York’s not the only city facing these kinds of funding challenges. In New York, Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.
Ashley Milne-Tyte: New Yorkers have been commuting by subway for decades. But in other parts of the U.S., public transport is suddenly gaining new riders keen to save money on gas.
Bill Millar of the American Public Transportation Association says that’s great:
Bill Millar: But on the other hand, public transit systems are great users of energy, particularly diesel and gasoline.”
So he says cities from Cleveland to San Diego are hiking fares. But that won’t automatically plug budget deficits. Millar says transit systems rely on several sources of funding.
Millar: Certainly I’ve been talking lately with communities that rely a lot on sales tax. And as the economy has grown worse, people are buying less and they’re seeing sales taxes go down.
He says to shore up their budgets, many transit systems are putting off improvements, and some are cutting back on service.
In New York, I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.