MTA finances stable, says state comptroller

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Today New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released a report discussing the MTA’s financial condition and outlook.

Reviewing the MTA’s financial plan for 2012 to 2016, which was released in July, DiNapoli was overall pleased with the transit agency’s strengthening financial state, but said it was facing several challenges.

“Ridership is rising and the MTA’s finances are stabilizing, but there are areas of concern,” DiNapoli said. “The pace of the economic recovery, litigation challenging the constitutionality of the Payroll Mobility Tax, collective bargaining and funding for the next capital program could all affect the budget.  Fare and toll hikes continue to outpace inflation, placing a burden on working men and women across the metropolitan region.”

According to the financial plan, if the MTA raises fares and tolls by 7 percent in 2013, as is expected, and does so again in 2015, those increases would be three times the estimated rate of inflation, and 35 percent higher than 2007.

Those increases will be largely responsible for closing the MTA’s budget gap, which the agency projects will be $487 million next year and reach $1.4 billion by 2016.

Ridership is already in the billions. In 2011, 1.64 billion rode the subway, the highest level since 1950.

But LIRR ridership is still below its 2008 peak of 87.4 million.