Report suggests MTA focus on fixing subway stations, less on expansion
The Citizens Budget Commission warned that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's needs to be more creative with its budget
A new report compared the struggle to keep up subway stations to a Greek parable.
The Citizens Budget Commission warned that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's task to fix and maintain subway stations will be almost impossible without a hard look at the agency's budget, calling it asisyphean task.
"The MTA should have a credible plan to reach a state of good repair in all of our subway stations," CBC President Carol Kellermann said in a statement. "It's time to think more creatively about how to achieve that."
The biggest challenge, the report argued, remains the $13 billion budget gap in the 2015-2019 plan for big-budget, long-term projects.
The MTA's ability to keep all 468 stations across the boroughs in decent shape — which the transit authority describes as being in a "state of good repair" — is a challenge when 33 stations are reported to be in poor shape.
Almost half of those stations are in Queens, the CBC report said, top among them the 52nd Street 7 train station, the 85th Street J train station and the 30th Avenue N/Q train station.
Among the report's suggested fixes are developing private-public partnerships that take the burden of the state to pay for certain repairs, as well as the reprioritization of money devote to expansion back into repairs.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz appreciated the report's analysis but disagreed with the latter recommendation.
"At a time when growing ridership is leading to crowding and delays, we must pursue expansion projects that will accommodate more customers as well as provide new connections and opportunities for our customers," Ortiz wrote in a statement.
The 7 train extension to Hudson Yards opens to the public on Sept. 13, and MTA hopes to open the long-awaited Second Avenue subway line by December 2016.
Nick Sifuentes, deputy director advocacy group Riders Alliance, told Metro expansions are important, but "we have to maintain the system that we have, and that should be our top priorities."
Sifuentes added that while the report — which is based on MTA data and doesn't capture straphangers' complaints — only confirms what New Yorkers already know.
"It basically proves what riders are telling us and we see all the time," he said.