Singing The Same Old Tune

The world of local transit news has been relatively quiet over the last week. This worked out great for me as I was extremely lethargic for most of last week & coupled with having little time, I could not update the blog. The biggest piece of news for the week came on Thursday with the release of a 3 page report by New York City’s Independent Budget Office. The report basically repeated the same tune many including myself have sung for ages. Here is a brief look at the 3 page report from an article by Sewell Chan (w/ contributions by Ken Belson) of the New York Times’ City Room Blog:

State and city subsidies to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have remained largely flat since 1990, exacerbating the authority’s fiscal pressures at a time when it is threatening to raise fares and facing steep deficits because of the turbulence in the real estate market, according to a new report.

The three-page report [pdf], released by the city’s Independent Budget Office on Thursday, did not make any policy recommendations, but it suggested that the intense news coverage of the authority’s troubled finances has largely overlooked the issue of government subsidies. The authority collects far more revenue from subway, bus and commuter rail fares, dedicated taxes, and bridge and tunnel tolls than it draws from direct government aid.

“It remains to be decided whether new types of subsidies are necessary, or whether existing levels should be altered by adjusting terms that have held some subsides flat for a decade,” the report’s authors, Alan Treffeisen and Doug Turetsky, wrote. “But in order to best decide how to aid the M.T.A. in the future, a common understanding of how much assistance the city and state provide today is needed.”

Click here to read the full report.

This report did nothing but sing the same tune many have sang for ages. People in touch with the daily happenings & needs of our system know that our government on all levels is as much if not more so to blame for the MTA’s financial crisis than the agency itself. This is a severe black eye for government considering how the MTA is not exactly the most fiscally responsible operation.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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