MTA unveils fare, toll hike proposals

NEW YORK -- New York City's transit authority unveiled its latest fare and toll proposals for rails, bridges and subways on Monday, including one that would raise the 30-day unlimited subway MetroCard from $104 to $125.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority has said the 2013 hike would bring in $450 million a year to support the nation's largest transit system. The MTA will hold public hearings on the proposals in November, and the board will vote on a final budget in December.

The proposals include a hike in cash tolls for cars crossing the city's bridges from $6.50 to $7.50. Tickets on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North could rise by about 8 percent.

But the city's subway and bus riders would be hit the hardest under the potential options, which include a 20 percent jump in the unlimited monthly Metrocard.

Base subway and bus fare could go up from $2.50 to $2.75. And the seven-day unlimited pass could jump from $29 to $34. One proposal calls for eliminating the 7 percent MetroCard bonus customers receive for putting at least $10 on a pay-per-ride card.

Legislators issued statements on Monday calling for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to help avert the need for a fare hike by increasing state funds for public transit. The state comptroller's office has said fare and toll hikes continue to outpace inflation, placing a burden on commuters across the metropolitan region.

"Tolls and taxes should not be the go-to solution for every debt-stricken government authority," said Rep. Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. "Just as every working family or business must learn to live within a budget, so should the MTA."

MTA ridership was 1.64 million last year, the highest level since 1950, and is expected to grow.