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Paterson: Closed-Door Deal May Save MTA

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As the MTA begins preparing for a second round of fare hikes and service cuts this year, Governor Paterson says he has a plan that may just save the day. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

Governor David Paterson says he's got some new ideas about how to bail out the MTA, but so far, he's not telling anyone except for legislative leaders.

"They are reviewing it with their members. If it passes muster, we'll make sure you know about it soon enough and hopefully vote on it as soon as when we get back. And I would like the day to be Monday," said Paterson.

The MTA says it can't count on Albany to act. In addition to fare hikes that take effect May 31, it's planning for a second round of fare hikes and service cuts that could take effect as soon as September. On Thursday, the agency instructed all of its agencies to prepare for a new round of cuts.

One idea that's been mentioned -- closing down the subway system overnight, is unlikely.

"The savings isn't that great, and it is really logistically extremely difficult for us, because the system is so big, to get all the trains into the yards, for instance, is a laborious process."

In fact, a recent internal analysis by New York City Transit concluded the subway was never designed to be shut down. Many stations don't even have gates; railyards aren't big enough to store the entire car fleet at once; and substituting bus service would actually be more expensive.

Still, the analysis does identify certain subway line segments that were recently considered for late-night closure. Among them, the Dyre Avenue branch of the 5 in the Bronx, the Franklin Avenue shuttle, the Lefferts Boulevard branch of the A train, and the Metropolitan Avenue branch of the M.

The segments could still, however, be at risk if there's another round of service cuts.

"These are horrific cuts that are likely. They've already cut away a lot of the fat. They've already cut into the bone. And this is a major amputation."

Of course, there is still hope an Albany rescue will make most of the proposals unnecessary.
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losed-door meetings to explain the governor's plan to state lawmakers are scheduled for Monday.

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