Saturday, April 19, 2014

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The Call Blog: Report Finds MTA With $1.9 Billion More Than Previously Thought

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If nothing else, it's become quite apparent the MTA needs to hire some folks who are better at projecting. The current cast of estimators cannot be more wrong. I wonder how much overtime the budget department made last year?

An analysis of the MTA's financial plan found $1.9 billion in "unanticipated resources" available to the transit agency. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report today concluding the MTA is on stronger financial footing than previously estimated, and it should consider reducing the size of planned fare and toll hikes.

Since 2007, the cost of a 30-day MetroCard has risen by 47 percent, while E-ZPass tolls on the MTA’s major bridges and tunnels have jumped 33 percent. Still, the MTA plans to raise fares and tolls again by 7.5 percent in 2015, and by another 7.5 percent in 2017. Last year, ridership on the subways reached the highest level since 1950.

The report also found overtime costs set a new record of $681 million in 2012, with $42 million of it attributable to weather-related events like Hurricane Sandy. The $1.9 billion in unanticipated resources came mostly from $482 million in higher tax revenues, $404 million in lower pension contributions, and $372 million in lower energy costs.

What's your reaction to the State Comptroller's report finding the MTA with $1.9 billion in new revenue? Should the transit agency use the money to reduce the upcoming fare and toll hikes? Are you surprised to learn transit employees raked in $681 million in overtime in 2012?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

So Tom DiNapoli's investigators march into the MTA's HQ, look under the rugs and reach under the seat cushions, and magically find $1.9 billion the MTA swore it never had. The next steps: (1) make the MTA do right by their customers by rolling back toll and fare hikes, (2) make the MTA stop the underhiring and understaffing that contributes to the overtime costs, and (3) give a raise to front-line supervisors and managers who haven't had a raise in at least 5 years because the MTA claimed it had no money for raises.


What else is new? Bloomberg spent more than he took in, raised taxes, and cried poverty. The MTA is another bunch of double talkers. When will the residents of NYC learn that the political system and the MTA, and PA NY/NJ are robbing is blind.

Park Hill

Even with the unanticipated cost of super storm Sandy the MTA has a 1.9 billion dollar surplus which suggests that they have been cooking the books for a while at the expense of the riding mass transit users.

Bay Ridge

Is anyone really surprised? This is what the MTA does, they make our lives a living nightmare on a daily basis, affecting the health, body and minds of New Yorkers, while stripping away their money. $1.9 billion isn't something anyone can easily hide.

- Ari, West Chelsea

I normally eschew Privatization since Im a large D Democrat but in this instance their finances are so completely obfuscated that they resemble an enigma inside a riddle that are only decipherable with the rosetta stone nearby. Most of their revenue should not come from the farebox; its not done that way anywhere else on planet earth. Therefore if Cuomo took a hard look at this, he may conclude that it should be put in private hands. This is intolerable and the service is terrible; its not even safe. 111th st stop; the first car stops in front of a shed that takes up the entire platform. You hear that Mr. Prendegast. (who arranged that?)


Hi John,

How is it that they always seem to find humongous amounts of money? Did they pick up a book by mistake from the second set or what? All the agencies have plenty of revenue but they always complain that they don’t have enough funds and then all of a sudden they start spending money and we never know where does it come from. That tells me that they just spend on whatever they wish to. Even the city council members have to much money in their slush funds and I could tell you first hand that I have never gotten invitations to their parties or celebrations of all kind and the money continues to flow freely but for just a chosen few.

There is no reason for the fares to continue to go up. They rob Peter to pay Paul and we the tax payers are the Paul in this case. They have made so many bad judgments in purchases and we can ad the corruption that these politicians continue to get into and they don’t pay the price ever. I also wonder if they still outsource jobs. The same people get hit with everything. How long can this go on.

Thank you John,

Wow once again, we found another $1.9 billion in unanticipated resources.? Wow what a surprise. Is not exactly what it happened a few years ago that there was some extra money found for MTA. And still nobody recorded that money? due to that MTA raised again and once again the prices for the fares. And who are the ones that are paying the additional cost of riding the subways? Us the ones that are not making enough money to live in Manhattan and having to commute everyday from wherever we are because can not afford to live nearby the jobs. And still have to share a place with one or maybe two roommates. Yes the ones that are not making even close the $50.000 dollars a year in order to make it in NYC. As somebody said before, If you can make here, you can make it anywhere. Yeah. Right. I hope that message from Thomas DiNapoli's report it won't disappear when MTA raise again the 7.5 % in 2015 and again on 2017 for the fares in NYC.

Alberto from Hamilton Heights

There is absolutely no excuse for fare hikes. The trains and buses are packed to capacity, so they are getting lots of fare revenue. The trains and buses are dirty and we get practically no service inasmuch as station agents or token booth personnel. We have to rely on unreliable machines for the most part to buy our overpriced Metro Cards. The MTA should be audited. Very, very closely audited.

East Village

What, they couldn't pocket that profit fast enough this time? We pay more for the worst service in any city and people say other countries are corrupt.

Upper East Side

The 1.9 billion surplus shows that the Mta doesn't have a clue as to whats going on. The two projected train, tunnels, and bridges hikes should be canceled. An agency that needs guidance.


This is suspicious. Forget the overtime pay, I'd like an accounting of all the senior mgmt. pay, including perks, bonuses, etc. There seems to be little transparency. Meanwhile, they've closed token booths galore to cut costs, so there's far fewer workers on the payroll now, all on the lower rungs of the workforce.


Hi The second Ave. line is a sink hole. It is total scam. This is where all the corruption is. Wouldn't have been easier to build a trolley down 2nd Ave. The TA has more workers in offices making a 120,000 grand a year building a huge pension. Use the 2 billion two billion lower the fare. A person who makes minimum wage can't afford the fare.

Jackson Hts.

Heavy overtime is due to lack of adequate hiring in key operational roles.

I've lived through the bad old days of service in the mid seventies and early eighties. I hope the surplus will be used for service and station improvements. The train arrival signs and posted bus schedules are a huge improvement.

Anne from Manhattan

Seems ridiculous and unfair to charge 1.00 for a new card. More importantly, the MTA gives you a bonus when you spend $20 - but it doesn't cover one ride - and always leaves you with some extra cents on your card. If you lose your card or need to refill - you often lose money. They should give you one free ride.

I'd like to know how much money the MTA makes from fares that were purchased but go unused.


What about all the posters and advertisement now presently on the subways and buses, why not just charge them more to advertise there products.


Have you ever purchased a MetroCard with your ATM card, got your receipt saying that your acct was billed 112.00 and the receipt says "failed"? You find out that the MTA has your money and YOU have to PROVE with your receipt - if you have one- that you were ROBBED... I recouped my 112.00 How many folks out there did not get a receipt and lost their money??? A surplus??? Go figure!



did you know a bus drive who has two express runs to Manhattan, one in the morning and one in the evening. Did you know that same bus driver gets paid on top of his days pay to do a run in between his if it needs to be covered. There's your overtime

staten island

If you believe there is a surplus, then I have a decrepit NYC bridge to sell you. I guarantee that come December , the MTA will announce a mega deficit. I'm tired of the MTAs inconsistent accounting methodology.

Forest Hills

I'm telling my 4 month old to become a bus driver for the mta, 100k with benefits , can't beat that. Why should she spend 150 k for a college education. Btw why are tolls constantly raised. People who commute from the bx to queens have to drive. They have been doing construction on the Whitestone bridge for the last 15 years. Thats the equivalent of three freedom towers.


I think some of the money should be used to (a have customer service training for some of the rude token booth clerks, and have make those subways that are not wheelchair addressable.


I believe there is an incredible waste of money by the MTA. Look at the scandal that's going on with the Metro North. Phoney overtime, workers being declared disabled right before they retire. There's too much overtime being it all legitimate?

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