The one place where one would think mass transit is able to pay for itself is New York City, but not according to this article from the New York Times.
“A state commission led by Richard Ravitch, a former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, presented a wide-ranging rescue plan on Thursday for the region’s subways, buses and commuter railroads that includes a new “mobility tax” on payrolls in the region; tolls on the free East River and Harlem River bridges; a much smaller fare and toll increase than the cash-strapped authority has threatened; few service reductions; and improvements in bus service.
“The plan would permit automatic, inflation-adjusted fare and toll increases every two years without public hearings, ending what Mr. Ravitch called a cyclical “political circus.” The plan would allow for an M.T.A. takeover of the city-owned Harlem River and East River bridges, which have historically been free to drivers. The new tolls would be collected electronically, without toll booths.
“The regional mobility tax — 33 cents on every $100 of payroll — would provide $1.5 billion a year, and the tolls would produce $600 million in net revenue a year ($1 billion a year in gross revenue minus expenses), Mr. Ravitch said. The new revenue streams would help finance borrowing for a $30 billion-to-$35 billion M.T.A. capital plan for 2010 to 2014 that would help stimulate the economy while maintaining vital infrastructure.”