New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli issued the following statement regarding the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s July Financial Plan.
“The MTA’s revised ridership projections underscore that it must somehow bridge a looming fiscal canyon of more than $2 billion annually and plan for long-term service challenges. The MTA’s July financial presentation shows operating budget gaps when excluding federal one-time relief, making clear what my office has been saying since September 2021: the MTA is facing major risks to its operating revenue streams as costs continue to rise, worsening a long-term budgetary imbalance.
“Ridership as a percentage of pre-pandemic ridership is now forecasted to be 61% this year and 79% in 2026, a far cry from the 77% and 87% that was expected in the MTA’s February Plan, leading to a sustained drop in revenues. The MTA’s current projections could become even worse as the threat of a recession looms. The growing disparity between revenues and expenditures necessitate that the MTA act quickly and creatively to provide options to boost revenue amid service demand changes and generate cost efficiencies and savings solutions to mitigate the widening gap.
“The MTA has fortunately turned aside from its ill-advised plan to plug operational gaps through borrowing, which will reduce recurring debt service costs associated with the bonds. The Authority also took a step forward on congestion pricing naming its traffic mobility review board, a critical step towards funding its capital plan.
“Reliable and safe mass transit is critical to revive New York City’s economy in an equitable manner. Monthly customer satisfaction surveys and recent quarterly transit summit discussions with New York City on the state of service are good steps forward, but the MTA must show how it intends to use this information to keep the public informed on how it plans to provide quality service for years to come.”
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