Attempted shoe-bombing be damned, the MTA approved its "doomsday" budget for 2009 yesterday, setting off a chain events that could result in fare and toll increases and service cuts beginning in the spring. And it's all your fault! Turned off by global economic turmoil, evaporating savings and a lack of consumer confidence, you have stopped buying expensive New York City real estate?and because of that, the MTA suffers. One of the authority's main revenue sources is taxes collected on real estate transactions (fare increases were canceled in 2006 in part because of the windfall from the sale of Stuyvesant Town), and with those transactions down sharply, there ain't no money, honey. The Times reports that real estate and mortgage taxes brought in $37 million this month, compared with $103 million during the same period last year. The MTA said they have been conservative in their forecasts due to the economic downtown, but they still expected a payout of $64 million in December, not $37M. Which means the Zeckendorfs had better build another 15 Central Park West soon, or the MTA might actually have to fill out some paperwork and sell that sought-after piece of land for the $1 billion it already agreed to sell it for. Harumph!
· M.T.A. Approves Cuts but Seeks Help [NYT]