State Comptroller: MTA funding gap could cost riders

Riders could see rate hikes if the MTA does not close a significant funding gap, aSpencer Platt/Getty Images

A report released Tuesday by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found the MTA is currently in "better financial condition," but warned a funding gap could end up costing transit riders in the long run.

There is a $15 billion gap in the MTA’s five-year capital program, DiNapoli said.

"Additional borrowing could increase pressure on fare and tolls, and while the MTA should look for opportunities for savings, deep cuts could affect the future reliability of the transit system and jeopardize expansion projects," DiNapoli said.

DiNapoli’s report found that for every billion dollars borrowed, riders could feel a 1 percent increase in fares if the funding gap is not filled. The comptroller said other factors, such as rising health costs, labor agreements, debt serives and pensions, are significantly higher..

The report also found the MTA’s debt is expected to reach $39 billion by 2018. The report also found 1.7 billion people rode the subway in 2013, and 81.8 million people rode the Metro North. MTA fares and tolls increase 29 percent between 2007 and 2013, or more than twice the rate of inflation.

The complete report is available here.

"The MTA network is a $1 trillion asset and is the engine that drives the New York economy," the MTA said in response to the findings. "The comptroller's report emphasizes how critical it is for all the MTA's stakeholders to engage in a dialogue about how to fund the Capital Program to renew, enhance and expand the MTA network."

 
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