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NEW YORK CITY-For now, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s threats of tremendous fare increases and draconian service cuts are history thanks to an agreement hammered out by Gov. David Paterson and state legislative leaders Tuesday. The bill–which sources say was still, literally, a work in progress and had yet to see print as of noon Wednesday–gets voted on today.

If the reported bill is approved, it’s curtains for months of mass transit drama, at least for now. Preliminary details of the hammered out plan call for the cost of bus and subway travel to go up from $2 to $2.25, a much more “rider friendly” hike than the 20% or 30% originally threatened by the MTA’s doomsday budget.

Reportedly, the new funding mechanism calls for a payroll tax in all 12 counties served by the MTA of 34 cents for every $100. Thanks to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s muscle in Albany, around $400 million of that tax will be directed to the MTA’s capital plan for the next two years. The $400 million enables the agency to borrow around $6.5 billion for capital improvements.

In an MTA statement, the agency says it “supports the agreement reached this evening and is grateful that the plan addresses both the MTA’s operating deficits and short-term capital needs.” Paterson says in a statement that the “legislation will also allow the MTA’s critical infrastructure rebuilding program to continue unimpeded at least through the end of 2011.”

Still, as late as Tuesday, several organizations–including the New York Building Congress, the Association for a Better New York, the Tri State Transportation Campaign and the Empire State Transportation Alliance–were expressing their worries over details involved in the long-term plans to finance MTA capital needs. In a letter to the governor and legislators, a group of 20 trade and transportation groups wrote “the mobility tax [a major component in today's reported agreement] was never intended… to create a permanent revenue stream for operating needs and we are distressed that it has been hijacked in the recent negotiations with no consideration of long term capital needs.”

Further enforcing the funding necessity, in a statement issued Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said of the MTA infrastructure “we must invest in the system, even during economically difficult times, or buses, railcars, stations, signals and tracks will fall into disrepair and commuters will suffer–just as happened in the 1970s.

However, a spokesperson from the Regional Plan Association tells GlobeSt.com that the spooky subways of the ’70s will hopefully remain a distant memory, and that in terms of funding the powers that be in Albany were “about half way there. Depending on how revenues shake out, and what goes towards what, will really spell out what has to be filled in towards the end of the year.”

Looking to the fall, when more budgeting will take place, the RPA spokesperson tells GlobeSt.com, “it’s something we can live with. It doesn’t include tolls, it doesn’t include the full capital plan, it’s more short-term but it does address the short-term crisis. This story’s not over.”

In his statement, the governor also says the new plan strengthens the governance of the MTA, increases its transparency and accountability and will bolster the public’s confidence in the MTA.

As GlobeSt.com reported earlier, calls for transparency and accountability were stated sticking points among some vocal opponents of the original rescue blueprint that had been most touted by the Paterson and Silver, the Ravitch Commission plan. Ravitch plan opponents included two Bronx Democratic state senators and Senate Majority Leader Malcom Smith of Queens.

The Ravitch plan called for tolls on the city-owned East River and Harlem River bridges, a call that supporters of the plan said stoked long standing “auto-centric” opposition to any fees on commuters crossing city bridges. But, according to a spokesperson for Smith, the opposition was not to the tolls themselves, but instead to the complicated move of transferring ownership of city bridges to the MTA. The spokesperson told GlobeSt.com that such an action would place the MTA at greater financial risk considering the infrastructural challenges facing the bridges. In the end, for now, the tolls are no longer part of any MTA rescue plan.

Also over for now are the contentious tones detailed in daily New York City news reports as the stalemate went on between the competing plans. In its official statement, the MTA says “we owe a debt of gratitude to Majority Leader Smith, Speaker Silver and the Legislature for making a strong commitment to the transit system in a time of economic crisis.”

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