Saturday, March 21, 2009

Feels Good to Be 8 Days Ahead of the Wall Street Journal!

WSJ, March 20, 2009 (excerpt)

Budget Woes Hit Mass Transit as Tax Revenue Falls


Just as mass-transit ridership has reached a historic high, tax revenues that fund rail and bus service have dropped, leaving transit agencies nationwide with huge budget deficits and the prospect of boosting fares.

In the New York City region, state lawmakers are locked in a dispute over how best to close a $1.2 billion mass-transit budget gap. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs public transportation in greater New York, says that without an emergency cash infusion it will be forced to boost fares 23%, and severely cut service to meet its $11 billion annual budget.

Divided state lawmakers and government officials in Albany have been pitching various plans that might pull in more cash -- including bridge tolls and new payroll taxes -- but no plan has attracted a majority of legislators and the governor.

Transit agencies in Washington, D.C., Chicago and San Francisco are facing similar situations.

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