New York City and Connecticut have settled a simmering dispute over a 17 1/2-cent Connecticut Turnpike token that just happened to fit the city's 90-cent subway turnstiles.
"It's better than nothing," said Kurt Schork, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, after Connecticut agreed to pay 17 1/2 cents for each of 2 million turnpike tokens that ended up in MTA coffers.
The city had tried to cash the tokens at the full value of subway tokens, but Connecticut offered only 2 1/2 cents apiece--the cost of aminting a token.
Finally, Connecticut Department of Transportation spokesman William Keish said, the parties "reached a conclusion and we have a mutual understanding."
The controversy began in 1982, when it was discovered that the Connecticut tokens--costing $7 for a roll of 40--worked in the city turnstiles. At the time the fare was 75 cents, and it has since been increased to 90 cents.
The city asked Connecticut to mint new tokens, but the state refused. Efforts to retool turnstiles to reject the Connecticut tokens also failed.
The exchange of tokens for cash will take place at the end of the year, and should bring the city about $350,000. It is believed that the use of the Connecticut tokens will trail off, as that state has discontinued tolls on the Turnpike.