State Democrats Unveil MTA Plan

State Senate Democrats have unveiled their OWN plan to rescue the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and it does NOT provide the kind of funding called for by former MTA chairman Richard Ravitch. The plan provides for a payroll tax, but at a reduced rate, and there's no tolls on East River and Harlem River bridges. Senate Majority leader Malcolm Smith says the proposal will provide enough money in the short-term to keep commuters happy.

SMITH: We took care of the operational problem. there'll be no service cuts with this, no layoffs, and this is reoccurring. And give us now until at least until the end of the session, if not by the time the capital plan is reduced, to come up with a capital plan we'll work with them.

Smith is also demanding more transparency from the MTA and more oversight of the agency. Ravitch has warned of dire consequences for the MTA and the region if his commission's plan of tolls, taxes, and modest fare increases is not approved in its entirety. Governor Paterson holds a news conference this hour to respond to the proposal.