Driving That Train

The Story

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson has suggested that, with the state-run MTA doing such a bad job of running the transit system, it may be time for New York City to take over the job. It’s not clear, though, how the city would necessarily do things better, especially when, as Johnson concedes, it would still need money from Albany to fix the system’s failing infrastructure. Still, Johnson’s proposal at least suggests that some political leaders are willing to consider bold solutions.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Growth: Over the last 25 years, growth in subway ridership has far outpaced growth in the city’s population. Read more.

  2. Capital: MTA revenue has increased faster than inflation, but pension and health-care costs eat up a growing portion of it, making it harder to finance capital projects. Read more.

  3. Debt: The MTA carries billions of dollars in debt, of which New York City would have to absorb a large portion if it took over the subways. Read more.

“In the early 1980s, the MTA had virtually no debt. Today, it owes nearly $40 billion.”

Nicole Gelinas, Manhattan Institute senior fellow

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Trainwreck By Nicole Gelinas, New York Post (December 16, 2009)

“The state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority is threatening big service cuts next year, and even to make schoolkids pay a fare. But the ‘solution’ from self-styled transit ‘advocates’ and politicians is worse — they want to raid the MTA’s capital budget.”

And in other news...

“Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday blamed upstate weather for New York’s continuing population decline, a day after his Republican challenger said Cuomo’s economic policies had failed to stanch the flow of migrants heading to other states.”