Are higher MTA fares caused by rising labor costs?

April 03, 2011

Perhaps The Sun failed to report this in May 2010, but I do not remember hearing about an arbitration finding for the unionized workers of the Maryland Transit Administration. Actually, I don't remember ever reading anything over the years in regard to contract negotiations between the MTA and the transit union. Yet, in cities like Philadelphia, New York, Boston and others, contract negotiation updates are regularly provided by those transit agencies. Why are we not seeing that in Maryland? It all appears to have been kept very hush, hush. Were it not for the General Assembly requiring a higher fare box recovery percentage ("Assembly Pushes for Higher MTA Fares," March 31), we probably still wouldn't know!

Transit riders, rightly, bemoan the inadequacy of the MTA system, but how is improving the MTA even possible if revenues or state subsidies are used to meet rising labor costs? There has to be a balance between what labor wants, what riders need and what the taxpayers of Maryland are willing to subsidize. Today, that balance is not here.

G. Daniel Waszelewski, Parkville

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