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Walder: No Fare, Toll Hikes For 2012 In New MTA Budget

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- In the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's preliminary budget, there are no fare, toll hikes or service cuts for 2012.

"I think the plan that you will see presents something that frankly I didn't know that we would be able to say at this point," MTA Chairman Jay Walder said. "Which is it presents at least a fragile stability for the organization."

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Walder said the agency has been able to achieve that by making every dollar count, however, there are plenty of ifs.

The city, state and federal governments must come through with funding and unions would have to agree to three years of no raises.

There is also concern from some board members on the debt needed to finance the capital budget.

Walder said that as opposed to the past, they are not raising fares this year because of the financial crisis, but instead are planning fare hikes totalling about 7.5 percent in 2013 and 2015.

A $1 fee on new MetroCards, approved last year, won't is expected to kick in 2013.

The fee is designed to stop straphangers from tossing their cards as the MTA seeks to reduce manufacturing costs. It was supposed to start this year. But an MTA spokesman says it's taking longer than expected to re-program all the vending machines.

Users getting new cards through employee programs or because of damaged or expired cards won't have to pay the fee.

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Walder warns that the capital project budget has money enough to last just another five months and four days.

The MTA will seek a $2 billion federal loan and sell nearly $5 billion in bonds, which will mean higher costs in the future.

After public hearings, the budget is scheduled to be adopted in December.

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(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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