MTA board postpones vote after outcry
The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority postponed a vote until at least December on a proposal that would increase Metro-North parking rates, including those at the Beacon, Cold Spring and Garrison stations, and eliminate free Saturday parking.
The agency hopes to raise nearly $1 million in annual revenue from the hikes. Neal Zuckerman, a Garrison resident who represents Putnam County on the MTA board, said that, upon learning of the proposal, he immediately fought to get the vote delayed.
“This is for all intents and purposes a fare increase,” he said. “We have a $1 billion budget deficit in 2022 before cost savings, and they’re trying to raise $1 million? It’s a joke. We need to have a larger conversation about the fairness of fares; I’ll keep fighting for what’s fair for Putnam County and this is not fair.”
In Cold Spring and Garrison, the daily rate would rise 50 cents, to $4, and annual resident passes by $36, to $394, effective Jan. 1. In Beacon, the proposed increase would raise daily rates by 75 cents, to $4.25, and annual resident passes by $30, to $328. Non-resident monthly rates would also rise, to $394 in Beacon and $535 in Garrison.
The cost of having a second vehicle on a parking permit would increase by $2 per month, to $9, and 24-hour parking by $2 per month, to $24.
Parking fees were last increased in 2013. The MTA board had planned to vote on the proposal on Thursday (Nov. 14) but postponed the action after a Journal News reporter noted its inclusion in the agenda for a Tuesday meeting of the MTA’s Metro-North committee. Members of the state Assembly, including Jonathan Jacobson, whose district includes Beacon, complained they had met with MTA officials on Nov. 1 but were not told about the proposed hike.
In a statement, Jacobson called the proposal “penny-wise and pound-foolish” because he said it could discourage people from using the trains. Parking fees on Saturday “will also hurt riverfront tourism and depress attendance at many of Beacon and Poughkeepsie’s riverfront festivals,” he said.