The Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) studied PATH’s fiscal dilemma and recommended a new business model to reduce the system’s deficit. By advocating for a balance of three revenue sources—passenger fares, motorist user fees (notably the current bridge and tunnel tolls), and a general tax subsidy—CBC illustrated how PATH could eliminate its deficit by 2018. The new balance would reduce reliance on the cross-subsidy from vehicle tolls, add a tax subsidy from state or local governments, and earn more from higher fares.
The CBC is nonpartisan, nonprofit, and highly respected, so its assessment is especially worthy of serious consideration. PATH is the only transit system that receives no public investment at the state or local level, so when you hear politicians complain about service levels, bear in mind that they’re not backing up their words with dollars.