THE BRONX - A state commission tasked with finding ways to close the Metropolitan Transportation Authority?s $1 billion budget gap may suggest a lower fare hike for commuters.

The Ravitch Commission, created by Gov. David Paterson and headed by former MTA chief Richard Ravitch, is expected to soon release its recommendations, which may call for an 8 percent fare hike instead of the previously proposed 23 percent increase.

The commission may also recommend that tolls be implemented at East River crossings, like the Brooklyn Bridge.

An MTA spokesperson declined to comment on the prospects of the new plan.