The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is facing an unexpected budget shortfall, which could have consequences for commuters.
The MTA says tax revenues earmarked for the agency are $220 million less than the state projected. That's on top of a $143 million cut in funding under the state budget deal passed last week.
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“The reality is that we're $350 million short of where we were and I think people should understand that was out of our control,” said MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin.
Earlier this year, the state bailed the agency out of $1.1 billion in debt and instituted a new payroll tax to fund mass transit.
At that time, the MTA promised no fare hikes until 2011 and also scrapped plans for service cuts.
While the agency says fare hikes are still off the table, it says some difficult choices will have to be made in the agency's budget, which comes out next week.
“Obviously things like service cuts have to be on the table, administrative cutting, all of that, but there will be serious impacts in this budget,” said Soffin.
Many straphangers NY1 spoke with say service cuts at any level will only create more headaches.
"The buses don't run on schedule as it is. So cutting a bus line would make it even worse," said one New Yorker.
"It's kind of annoying waiting for the trains, especially on the weekends. So if they're going to cut more now I want to know if they're actually gonna cut the price," said another New Yorker.
"To me, it doesn't really matter because I take rush hour trains," said a third. "So if they make cuts, they'll still probably be pretty frequent."
The Straphangers Campaign, a transit advocacy group, says it is calling for an investigation into, "whether New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has adequately administered and enforced the new payroll tax."
A spokesman for the state budget office said it's too early to say what happened, including whether some businesses may not have fully paid the tax. But it added, "During a period of unprecedented fiscal crisis that is affecting all levels of government, the MTA, like the state, must prudently manage reductions in available resources."