Promised MTA upgrades hit roadblock

THE BRONX - Straphangers will have to wait a little longer for the $30 million in upgrades that the MTA promised while it pushed for the now-active fare hikes.

MTA Chief Financial Officer Gary Dellaverson said Monday that the "gloomy" and "frightening" economic outlook due to sluggish real estate sales is to blame. Dellaverson said the agency took in less than it expected on taxes from real estate transactions during the past two months.However, the MTA had claimed the funds for upgrades to subway lines and buses hinged on the approval of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan and on the fare hike itself.

Gov. David Paterson recently voiced support for the congestion pricing plan, which would charge drivers $8 to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. The City Council is expected to vote on the plan Wednesday, March 26.

Some transit advocates believe the lack of full disclosure will make it harder for commuters to swallow future fare hikes. The jump in fares took effect earlier this month.

There's no official word on when or if the $30 million in upgrades will occur, and the future of a planned Fordham Plaza-LaGuardia Airport bus line is uncertain.AP wire reports contributed to this report.

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