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Albany's "Gang Of Three" Oppose Ravitch Plan For MTA

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TWC News: Albany's "Gang Of Three" Oppose Ravitch Plan For MTA
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The so-called “Gang of Three” could hold up a plan in Albany to rescue the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

State Senators Carl Kruger, Ruben Diaz Sr. and Pedro Espada Jr., who were part of a group that held out support for Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, are now opposing a deal to increase funding to the MTA through a new payroll tax and new tolls on the East River and Harlem River Bridges.

They say bridge tolls are not an option, and they're demanding the MTA go back to the drawing board.

They said in a joint statement, "The Ravitch plan, and the attempt to foist it on the Legislature during budget negotiations, is ill-conceived and misguided. Tolls hurt the ridership of our city, hurt the general public, and hurt the small business community."

With Senate Democrats holding a razor-thin majority, the loss of three votes would mean some Republican votes would be needed to get any plan passed.

MTA staff met with representatives of the Senate, Assembly and Governor David Paterson in Albany earlier today.

Some state leaders were still optimistic that a deal can be made.

"Our desire and I believe the Senate's desire is to make sure that the actions of the board of directors, of the MTA, in putting forth their 'doomsday budget' never happens," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

The MTA says it will move forward with plans to raise fares and cut service unless Albany acts by March 25.

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