MTA Budget Deficit Grows To $1.2 Billion

Earlier this morning I watched the special MTA Finance Committee meeting that was scheduled to allow staff to present the board with updated information on revenue and expense projections for the agency’s operating budget. As expected the presentation featured an increased deficit & many questions as to what can be done to get out of this huge financial mess. Sewell Chan & William Neuman of the New York Times has more in this report:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority faces a $1.2 billion budget deficit in 2009 — $300 million more than it had projected in July — that will very likely require new fare and toll increases or service reductions unless it gets new state and city aid or finds new sources of revenue, officials warned on Monday morning.

At a meeting of the finance committee of the authority’s board, the authority’s chief executive, Elliot G. Sander, said the authority faces a dire fiscal situation that could influence riders across the subway, bus and commuter-rail networks. The deficit was caused, he said, by the collapse of revenues from real estate and corporate taxes, which until just a few years ago had given the authority a string of healthy surpluses.

“The word draconian is not inappropriate,” Mr. Sander said at a news conference after the meeting. He was flanked by the authority’s chairman, H. Dale Hemmerdinger, and its chief financial officer, Gary J. Dellaverson, in describing the potential service reductions.

“They will be very, very significant,” Mr. Sander said. “Whatever that mix that we come up with, in terms of fare and toll increases and service reductions, there’s no question that they would have an impact, significantly, on our customer and on the functioning of that region.”

Click here for the complete report.

Click here to view the Special Finance Committee Powerpoint Presentation.

Lets face it, the MTA’s financial picture looks quite bleak at this point. I think it is absolutely disgusting that they will most likely have to find a way out of this mess with next to no help from our local & regional elected officials. Will the federal government step in & try to help out? If you ask me, they should definitely step in.

If they can bail out automakers, banks, & an insurance giant, why not the most important transit agency in the entire country bar none. I would bet my life that our region’s transit infrastructure brings more to the economy than any other in the entire country & possibly world. This is reason enough for the federal government to step in & help out in a big way.

Something needs to be done as quite frankly I am turned off by some of the proposals that will most likely come from the Ravitch Commission next month. While I was not expecting this report to save the day, it would have been nice to hear some better ideas leaking from them besides adding tolls to bridges & re-suggesting the ridiculous congestion pricing plan. One thing is for sure, the rest of the year will be quite interesting on the mass transit front.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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The MTA has had no less than 600 million in surpluses a year for the last 7 years!!!!!! So now they are seeing a deficit and they are crying where is all of that extra money!!

In 2005 they had over a 1 billion dollar surplus and didn’t give a single penny of it to there employees in a contract year where’s all of the money?

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