THE BRONX - Elected officials are telling the MTA to go back and work further on its budget after hearing details of a proposed fare hike Friday.

In the first of many public hearings, the MTA presented its financial plans for the upcoming years.

The MTA is asking for a rate hike starting in 2008 and subsequent smaller hikes every two years thereafter based on inflation. It says the hike would make up for the multi-million dollar deficit they would incur in upcoming years.

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester) criticized the MTA for not asking the state and city for additional funds before proposing a fare hike. He also said it was the first time the MTA has proposed a fare hike in a surplus year.

City and state officials said a final decision on the budget will not be made until December.

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