The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was wise and kind enough in these terrible economic times to put off raising subway and bus fares for several months at least. Not so with tolls on its bridges and tunnels. Those still may go up nearly 10 percent when the agency’s ruling board plans to vote.
The MTA is not clear yet on all the numbers, but the cost of a trip over the Throgs Neck or Whitestone Bridge could go from $6.12 to $6.70 for those using E-ZPass. All it would say about the cost for those not using the tracking device, now $9.50, is that the increase would depend on various factors.
Raising tolls but not fares is of course unfair to drivers, who already subsidize subway and bus trips. Although it takes only a rough look, the MTA’s own “budget basics” document shows that tolls bring in 12 percent of the agency’s revenue but it only spends 5 percent on bridges and tunnels. Fares bring in 38 percent of revenue but 70 percent of spending goes to buses and trains. The MTA should put toll hikes on hold just as long as it does fare increases.