MTA Deficit Could Rise By $650 Million

As the deadline draws closer to the MTA possibly enacting the doomsday scenario, & they try to convince Albany for the money they need, news comes out that their deficit could rise by $650 million. William Neuman of the New York Times has more in this report:

Plummeting tax and fare revenues that have been depressed further by the ailing economy could increase the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s budget deficit this year by $650 million, according to a new estimate made public on Monday. If the doomsday forecast is borne out, the authority’s deficit this year could grow to nearly $2 billion.

The authority has already proposed a steep increase in fares and deep service cuts if it does not get a state bailout. But if its finances worsen significantly, it could be forced to take even more drastic measures. “This is obviously breathtaking,” Gary Dellaverson, the authority’s chief financial officer, said as he presented the projections to a meeting of the authority board’s finance committee.

Mr. Dellaverson said that revenue from taxes on mortgages and real estate transactions was $71.5 million so far this year, slightly less than half of what the authority had predicted it would receive when it made what it thought was a conservative forecast late last year.

That forecast called for the authority to receive $880 million in real estate tax revenue in 2009. But Mr. Dellaverson said that if the trend continued, the authority could receive $446 million less than predicted.

Mr. Dellaverson cautioned that the figures he was presenting did not rise to the level of a formal budget forecast.

But the possibilities he sketched were grim enough.

They included a $123 million decline in fare and toll revenue, below what was budgeted. And he said that state taxes receipts that go to the authority, including a sales tax and a corporate income tax, could be $82 million less than forecast.

“The scary number is when you add them all up,” Mr. Dellaverson said.

That would put the total revenue decline for the year at about $650 million below what was in the austerity budget passed by the board in December.

That budget was meant to fill a predicted $1.2 billion gap, with a series of drastic financial measures, including a 23 percent increase in fare and toll revenues starting in June, deep service cuts and other budget cutbacks. (If the new estimate becomes reality, it would bring the deficit this year to more than $1.8 billion.)

Click here for the complete report.

I sincerely hope Albany is finding out about this. These kind of details are the ones I would hammer into the mind of our officials. If you don’t do the right thing, our transit infrastructure & system will come crashing down. I am not one for doom & gloom but lets be real here. The system is in shambles yet ridership continues to grow. When our economy gets better, it will bring even more people back into the region adding even more to ridership totals.

The system is at its breaking point & seriously needs to be funded. While there are some in the minority who feel the MTA should come crashing down, we can’t afford to have that happen. Yes, they have made mistakes & engaged in some shady bookkeeping. However for the better of the millions who use the system daily, we can’t have them come crashing down leaving us with the worst possible service imaginable. Our transit system is a lifeline & needs to be treated as such by our “so called” leaders.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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