While many longtime observers and advocates are concerned about the city's income gap and general affordability, the Citizens Budget Commission found housing costs are somewhat offset by low transportation costs through mass transit and a moderately high median income. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Fares might be going up next year but public transpiration plays a significant role in keeping New York City more affordable, a new report by a New York City budget watchdog group said.
Using federally collected data, the Citizens Budget Commission to compare salaries, living expenses and transportation costs in New York City to other large cities.
While many longtime observers and advocates are concerned about the city's income gap and general affordability, the watchdog group found housing costs are somewhat offset by low transportation costs through mass transit and a moderately high median income.
A $112 monthly MetroCard doesn't seem so bad, the report argues, compared to hour-long commutes in cars. And at time when the average price of $3.48 per gallon of gas, every cent can count.
Researchers based their findings on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development numbers that show a typical household having an annual income of about $64,000 a year.
And while last year's Census numbers indicated that about 20 percent of New Yorkers fall below the federal poverty threshold, the CBC argues that the more than half of the population relies on bus and subways give some balance to the higher housing costs.
"It's the MTA that makes New York City more affordable, and New Yorkers should recognize the importance of adequately maintaining and funding our public transit system, Charles Brecher, the CBC's consulting research director, said in a statement.
For its part, the MTA delighted in reports findings even as it plans a 4 percent hike in fares in 2015.
"We are glad the report highlights the fact that riding with the MTA is still the best deal in town providing 8.5 million people each day with safe, reliable service while fueling our region’s $1.4 trillion economy," said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz.