Governor Patterson Appoints 12 Members To MTA Financing Commission

Earlier today, New York Governor David Patterson announced the appoint of 12 members to the MTA Financing Commission which will be headed by former MTA Chairman Richard Ravitch. Here is the press release courtesy of the New York Governor website.

Governor David A. Paterson today appointed 12 members to the Commission on Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Financing, to be chaired by former MTA Chairman Richard Ravitch. The Commission is charged with recommending strategies to fund MTA capital projects and operating needs over the next ten years, a period when the Authority will be under unprecedented financial pressure as it expands its system and rebuilds its core infrastructure to provide the additional capacity needed to allow the region to grow. Governor Paterson announced in April that Richard Ravitch would head the Commission in wake of the failure of the congestion pricing proposal, which would have provided an additional revenue stream to the MTA.

“New York’s leaders have too often underestimated the critical importance of mass transit to the economic wellbeing of the region and the quality of life of our citizens,” said Governor Paterson. “New York City’s famous subway system, its buses, and the extensive regional commuter rail network are the lifelines of the greatest city in the world, bringing millions of people to their places of work, fueling development, and increasing the property values of residents and businesses. The congestion pricing debate highlighted the need for sustainable funding for the MTA. This Commission will help ensure that the MTA has the resources it needs to expand and maintain a mass transit system that can increase regional prosperity while also curbing sprawl, reducing traffic congestion and improving the environment.”

The Commission will include experts on transportation and finance, and will be chaired by Richard Ravitch, former Chairman of the MTA and a New York City business leader. The Commission will submit its report to the Governor and legislative leaders by December 5, 2008.

“As MTA Chairman from 1979 to 1983, Richard Ravitch was one of those New Yorkers with the foresight to see how invaluable a safe, reliable mass transit system is to the health of the City,” said Governor Paterson. “He was a leader with the ability to bring that vision to reality by developing the first MTA capital plan that famously saved the New York City mass transit system from collapse. We need that kind of leadership today which is why I am appointing Dick to lead the Commission that will help chart the next ten years for the MTA.”

Ravitch, who thanked the Governor for his trust and support, said: “The future of the MTA and the future of New York State are inseparably linked, and I am grateful for this opportunity to serve my Governor and the State by helping chart a course for the Authority’s continued success. The years I served as MTA Chairman are amongst the proudest of my career, and I am lucky that I can again be of service to the organization.”

The Commission reports to the Governor and legislative leaders will include an estimate of capital needs for the next two MTA programs through 2018. The panel will work with the MTA to review the needs presented in the 2008-13 Capital Program recently approved by the MTA board and preliminarily estimate the subsequent capital program needs through 2018. The Commission will, in conjunction with the MTA, consider the funding requirements for the core program of normal replacement and state of good repair projects as well as the cost of completing existing mega projects and undertaking additional system expansion. The Commission will not be asked to make recommendations on transit priorities reflected in the current MTA Capital Plan.

With regard to the MTA operating budget, the Commission will review scenarios developed by the MTA that predict the range of operating budget shortfalls over the next ten years.

The Commission will then propose a series of actions to address the identified funding needs. These actions may include, but are not limited to: proposals on new funding sources authorized by the Governor and the State Legislature to be dedicated to the MTA, toll and fare adjustments in support of MTA operations and its capital plan, congestion pricing, and initiatives to maximize MTA efficiencies.

The Commission will also examine MTA financing policy issues such as the role of debt in the MTA capital program, the role of the Port Authority in funding regional mega projects, federal, state and local government burden sharing for financing the MTA, and other mass transit providers in the MTA region.

Since announcing that Richard Ravitch would head the Commission to examine MTA funding, the Governor and his staff have been working with Mr. Ravitch to recruit members and develop a charge and work plan for the Commission.

The Governor recognizes that the financing of downstate mass transit cannot be divorced from the broader statewide transportation strategy, and this Commission should serve as a model for how New York State takes up the responsibility of funding its other transportation needs including highway and bridges, rail, ports and aviation.

The following people have agreed to serve on the Commission (in alphabetical order):

  • Laura L. Anglin – Budget Director
  • Keven Burke – Chairman of the Board @ Con Edison/Con Edison of New York
  • Robert B. Catell – National Grid, US Chairman
  • Douglas Durst – Third generation member @ The Durst Organization
  • Peter Goldmark – Program director of the Climate & Air program @ Environmental Defense Fund
  • Denis Hughes – New York State AFL-CIO President
  • Father Joseph McShane – Fordham University President
  • Mysore L. Nagaraja – Well known expert advisor in urban transportation
  • Mark Page – New York City Office of Management & Budget Director
  • Steven Polan – Partner @ Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
  • Elliot G. Sander – MTA CEO & Executive Director
  • Kim Paparello Vaccari – Head of the Transportation Group @ Banc of America Securities

The commission is to report its proposals to Governor Patterson by December 5th, 2008.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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