Panel: The MTA Capital Budget: Funding Challenges

January 19, 2012   12:30 pm   
League of American Orchestras
33 W. 60th St. (bet. Broadway & Columbus Av.), Fifth Floor
Due to limited seating, please reserve your space online.
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Women's City Club of New York

Learn about the complex picture of MTA funding and budgeting at the WCC’s upcoming program: “The MTA Capital Budget — Funding Challenges.” The WCC is honored to present three highly distinguished expert panelists:

  • Hope Cohen, Associate Director, Center for Urban Innovation at the Regional Plan Association, America’s oldest independent metropolitan policy, research and advocacy group
  • Michael Horodniceanu, President of the MTA Capital Construction Company
  • Charles Brecher, Executive Vice President and Director of Research for the Citizens Budget Commission
  • The panel will be moderated by Marcia Bystryn, WCCNY member and President of the event’s co-sponsor, the New York League of Conservation Voters.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in downstate New York has given New Yorkers plenty of fodder for grumbling lately. Fare hikes in late 2010 raised the cost of a single metrocard by 11% and a monthly unlimited card by 17%. Service cuts accompanied the fare hikes, and a few big construction projects drag on with seemingly no end in sight.

While it is easy to blame the MTA for these transportation woes, even a cursory second look reveals that the organization is facing financial difficulties influenced by the current economic situation like everyone else. Not least among the MTA’s own woes are cutbacks in government funding.

Complicating the story are two separate but co-dependent budgets. The MTA’s operating budget covers day-to-day costs of running the system, while the capital budget covers improvements to the system. Operating costs have increased in recent years, without corresponding increases in revenue. Meanwhile, shortfalls in the capital budget force the MTA to accumulate debt in order to maintain important infrastructure projects. That debt is then repaid from the operating budget. The result is magnified pressure on the operating budget – and that is what we all feel, in the form of fare hikes and service cuts.