Today’s news:

MTA pledges to hold the line on fares, service

The cash-strapped MTA said it would be hard-pressed to replace the $100 million in MTA money slashed in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget, but it vowed that the agency would fill the gap without fare increases or service cuts.

“We understand that the state’s fiscal crisis requires sacrifice from every area funded by the state, including the MTA,” the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said in a statement.

“Because the MTA has already taken unprecedented measures to reduce costs, finding an additional $100 million in 2011 will be very painful, especially with sizable deficits still projected for 2012 and 2014, the agency said. “As we continue cost-cutting, further reductions become harder and harder to achieve.”

Ruling out another round of fare hikes, the MTA said it would look for additional cost-savings within the company. Fares on subways, buses and the commutter railroads rose at the end of December along with tolls for bridges and tunnels as the agency grappled with an $800 million budget shortfall. Earlier in the year the MTA eliminated several bus routes in Queens as well as the V and W subway lines in 2010 as part of a reduction in services.

“We are hopeful that this year we can work with our labor unions to find productivity improvements that protect jobs even as we reduce costs,” the MTA said.

The agency said it can only spend as much money as it has.

“Given the financial pressures facing the state, local governments and every New Yorker, our only choice is to manage the MTA so that every dollar counts,” it said.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at or phone at 718-260-4536.

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