Watchdogs' Take on the MTA
August 29th, 2007

While both the city and state comptrollers have been focusing on what the Metropolitan Transit Authority can do to avoid a fare hike next year, a pair of budget watchdogs have also proposed a way for the authority to bring its entire fiscal house into order. But it includes raising fares.

The piece in the Stamford Review, penned by Charles Brecher and Selma Mustovic, both from the Citizen’s Budget Commission, offers some tough suggestions to cover huge budget gaps and also adequately fund the system’s upkeep.

191st St. Tunnel – Docdrumming’s Flickr Stream

They propose a funding plan, dubbed “50-25-25,” that would lessen the percentage that transit riders would contribute to the agency’s budget. Fares would account for only 50 percent of the budget – as opposed to the current 58 percent – while the other half would be equally split between driver fees and government subsidies.

But hikes across the board will be essential to dig the agency out of debt, the authors argue. Increases in Metrocards would be coupled with higher bridge and tunnel tolls, steeper motor vehicle fares, and even a rise in gas taxes. They also support congestion pricing fees.

The agency is mired in debt and the authors project that 20 percent of the authority’s operating budget will be used to pay off the interest on that debt by 2010. That is nearly twice what its spent on the Long Island Railroad. The transit agency reached this point, they say, by diverting funds needed for maintenance and repair to balance their operating budget forcing them to borrow huge amounts for upkeep.

The transit system is plays a central role in the health of New York’s economy, the watchdogs argue. They cite statistics showing that two-thirds of commuters use mass transit to enter the central business district in Manhattan, 85 percent of whom use the MTA. Thus the agency’s financial health is crucial to New York economy, they say.

By on August 29, 2007, 4:19 am
In category: Public Finance,Transportation | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “Watchdogs' Take on the MTA”

  1. kevin daily Says:
    August 30th, 2007 at 10:48 am

    THE TA MAKES A WHOLE LOT OF FUBABS UNDER A MILLION PURCHASED TWO HARLEY POLICE TYPE MOTORCYCLES AFTER 911 BUT ONLY 2 UPPER MANAGEMENT CUOLD RIDE, A BOAT TO BE USED FOR LIFEGRAURD DUTY FOR TA WORKERS ON BRIDGES NEVER GOT WET AND LAST THAT I KNOW OF IS ACLASS A MOTOR HOME USED AS A COMMAND CENTER

  2. Dock Drumming Says:
    May 7th, 2008 at 3:30 am

    Hey,

    Thanks for using my picture!

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