Fixing the MTA

The Story

Reorganization of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)—which controls most public transit in and around New York City—has been the holy grail of planners and advocates for decades. But problems of transparency, accountability, and efficiency remain paramount. 

How can we hope to reform the MTA when the agency can’t even provide clarity on its current finances or its plans for the future?

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Plan: A $4 million “Transformation Plan” that the Governor ordered for the MTA barely touches on the question of upcoming contract negotiations with the unions. It doesn’t, for example, set a financial goal for savings that the unions and the MTA should jointly attain. Read more.

  2. Opaque: The $50 billion MTA capital plan, which must be voted on in a month, is being drafted in total secrecy, contrary to practice. Read more.

  3. Budget: Certain basic reforms to opaque contracting and procurement practices could yield billions in savings for the MTA. Read more.

“The MTA’s nonexistent accountability structure contrasts with almost every other major government body in the city.”

Nicole Gelinas, Manhattan Institute senior fellow

Featured Podcast

Tune in to City Journal‘s 10 Blocks Podcast
New York City Transit, with Speaker Corey Johnson

Corey Johnson, Speaker of the New York City Council, joins Seth Barron to discuss the state of New York City’s transit system and his plan to break up the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), allowing the city to take control of its buses, subways, bridges, and tunnels.

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

The Obstacle to Bloomberg’s Master Plan By Nicole Gelinas (June 8, 2007)

“The mayor may soon learn that, while his plan to do an end run around the MTA’s storied dysfunction was creative, the MTA is simply too big and too dysfunctional to ignore.”

And in other news...

“A friendly union offered a boost to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s long-shot presidential campaign shortly after he announced his bid in May.

Now the endorsement appears to have paid off.”