M.T.A. Proposes Pushing Back Capital Improvements

At a public hearing on Monday afternoon, M.T.A. officials proposed a new set of amendments (PDF) to the struggling agency’s capital program for 2005-09.

"I certainly believe that riders should be concerned about what we’re looking at," M.T.A. Executive Director Elliot Sander said.

In order to cope with higher costs and new priority projects, the M.T.A. plans to defer several projects to the 2010-14 capital program. To fund $2.3 billion in major program increases at New York City Transit, for example, the M.T.A. is deferring a number of projects collectively worth $2.4 billion, including vent plants ($385 million) and 19 station rehabilitations ($279 million). A concise list of new costs and project deferrals for New York City Transit, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North can be found here.
Despite all the project deferrals, the proposed size of the 2005-09 capital program has actually increased. The current program’s budget will go from $6.325 billion to $7.394 billion.

So far in 2008, the M.T.A. has been hit with rising operating costs (mostly due to high fuel prices) and decreased revenue from falling real estate taxes. Several of the projects under the M.T.A.’s capital program –which is already $15 to $20 billion short in funds–are getting more expensive, too.

Mr. Sander could not say definitively whether the M.T.A. would have to impose fare and toll hikes and/or make service cuts until Albany comes down on the issue. The jury is still out on the Ravitch Commission, which Mr. Sander said he has "faith in." M.T.A. Proposes Pushing Back Capital Improvements