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MTA Says Fare Hike Is 'Purely Hypothetical' If Capital Plan Isn't Funded

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – There's more possible bad news for commuters in New York City.

The MTA's chief financial officer, Robert Foran, said fares and tolls could jump 15 percent unless New York state lawmakers provide funding for a five-year capital plan.

The plan calls for $32 billion for critical improvements to the city's subways, buses and trains.

That would mean a possible fare of $3.15 and a more than $130 for a monthly metro card.

MTA Says Fare Hikes Could Be On The Horizon If Capital Plan Isn't Funded

But before anyone gets too upset, the MTA said the fare hike is " purely hypothetical" and "not a planned increase," CBS2's Dave Carlin reported.

After an increase went into effect last month, the mere suggestion of paying more sparks frustration among straphangers.

"They should be able to do it from what we be giving them now, the money were giving them now they should be able to do everything they need to do," South Bronx resident Richard Henry said.

"That's too much money. I can't afford it," one commuter said.

"I think the government needs to find external solutions other than making transit riders play for everything," another said.

Some riders say they are willing to pay more if it means meaningful improvements, but others say upgrade the system without putting it on straphangers backs.

An MTA spokesman said the real push is to get more funding from federal state and city sources to improve the system, most notably with the kind of automation that currently exists on the L line.

"Our CFO was describing what a hypothetical fare increase would look like in order to generate the debt service to cover the roughly $14 billion we need for our capital program." Kevin Ortiz, MTA spokesman, said. "It was a conjectural statement about math, not a statement about anything the MTA board is contemplating."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who controls the MTA, has described the capital plan as "bloated." Cuomo has not offered any solutions for funding it.

MTA board member Jeffrey Kay called the budget hole "a freight train coming at us."

As WCBS 880's Paul Murnane reported, one board member said there are few options but the plan to toll East River bridges and Midtown and Downtown Manhattan could help.

But more than a dozen Queens officials denounce the plan, known as Move New York, as a huge burden with no guarantees for what they call the "transit desert" of Queens.

The plan is now only half-funded.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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