Thursday, December 22, 2011

MTA adopts budget, advances capital program

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York has approved a $12.6 billion operating budget with no planned fare increases of service cuts though it comes with a funding gap of $68 million. “The 2012 budget is largely similar to the Final Proposed Budget presented to the Board in November,” said MTA in a statement Wednesday.

“Based on updated economic forecasts, it reflects an $87 million reduction to the amount of revenue projected to be raised through Metropolitan Mass Transportation Operating Assistance, a collection of taxes dedicated to support public transportation. As a result, the MTA projects an operating deficit of $68 million in 2012. The MTA intends to make up this deficit through management actions to reduce internal expenses by $35 million and releasing $33 million in general reserves funds.”

“The reduction in projected subsidies underscores the fragility of the MTA’s current fiscal stability,” said MTA Executive Director Joseph J. Lhota. “It also indicates how important it is for the MTA to continue its recent efforts to reduce costs, even as we work to improve service.”

MTA noted that a separate capital funding plan calls for using revenues already committed to the budget to fund new bonds, and has three key benefits: It requires no new revenues; it protects the benefits of a capital program that delivers safety and reliability to the transit system; and it delivers jobs and stability.

“In the context of the ongoing economic crisis in New York State, this proposal advances our critical capital investments in an affordable way,” said MTA Chief Financial Officer Robert Foran. “It relies on revenues already dedicated to capital expenses and keeps debt service at a manageable level, with the percentage of debt to capital investment the lowest in 15 years.”

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