The MTA released its four-year financial plan and preliminary 2017 budget on Wednesday that will modernize the subway system, while trying to minimize fare increases.
In addition to an all-agencyfare increase, the budget also includes a proposal for an additional $1 billion over four years through a financial plan to pay for amenities like Wi-Fi, USB charging ports and digital screens.
MTA said to expect 200 buses and 200 subway cars to feature the upgrades this year and an additional 400 subway cars will be equipped in 2017.
Some of the proposed changes include:
- Renovation of 31 subway stations
- Introduction of Wi-Fi in 31 subway stations
- “Contactless” fare payment in 2018
- New service, including four new Select Bus Service routes in Queens
- Restoration of year-round weekend North Folk service on the Long Island Rail Road plus summer Fire Island connections
- Meeting increased use of Customer Service Center operations
- Increased safety precautions, including upgrading railroad crossings, adding onboard vehicle cameras and “Help Point” intercoms
Cuts within the department are expected to provide savings and limit fare increases.
As a result of the cost savings found, the MTA expects to be able to limit the previously announced 2017 and 2019 fare and toll increases to no more than 4 percent. The increase is projected to provide the MTA with an additional $308 million in annual operating revenue, allowing for projected balanced budgets through 2019; however, a $371 million deficit is projected for 2020.
The final proposal will be released in November and adopted by the MTA Board in December, according to the transit agency. Specific proposals for the 2017 fare and toll increases will be discussed at public hearings sometime this fall.