Subway Riders Face One-Two Punch

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority formally presented its proposed 2009 budget yesterday. It would raise tolls and fares by 8 percent starting next July, followed by another 5 percent hike in January of 2011. But that meeting was just the first step on a long journey. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman reports.

REPORTER: Over the next five months, the MTA will continue to revise its revenue estimates based on how the economy does. In early December, a commission led by former MTA chairman Richard Ravitch will come out with a report that people hope solves all of the MTA's present and future problems. Only then will a vote come--and even then, the budget, and any fare hike, could well be contingent on whether the state legislature helps out the following spring.

For his part, MTA Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger predicts a lot of the heated rhetoric from elected officials this week is going to change.

HEMMERDINGER: I think we're far, far away from December. And a lot of water is going to pass under the dam between now and then and people are going to say a lot of things between now and then.

REPORTER: For WNYC, I'm Matthew Schuerman.