Today’s Headlines

  • Next MTA Fare Hike Could Come Sooner Than Expected (WSJ, SAS)
  • Bloomberg, Yassky Detail Dollar Van Pilot; Samuelson Vows Suit (NYT, AMNY, News, NY1)
  • Banker, Former Bush Aide Robert Steel Named New Deputy of Economic Development (Crain’s, WSJ)
  • Paterson Promises Budget by Monday; Shelly Balks: "There Is No Deadline" (Daily Politics)
  • Cop Chase Killed Nun, 84; 4 in Hospital; Suspects at Large; Browne Deflects (NYT, Post, News, NY1)
  • Brooklyn Paper Files Halfway Decent Estimation of Prospect Park West Brouhaha
  • State DOT Not Ruling Out Heights Demolition for BQE After All (Bklyn Paper)
  • DUMBO BID Envisions Revamped Pearl Street Triangle (Post, Bklyn Paper)
  • Times City Critic Finds MTA PayPass Efficient, Flawed, in Need of Publicity
  • San Francisco Bike Injunction Drags On. And On. (Streetsblog SF)
  • Offshore Drilling Moratorium Blocked; Spill Could Contaminate NY Beaches (Takeaway, WNYC)
  • Larry Littlefield

    When will the MTA have the stones to do what I have suggested. Cut the fares and tolls to the level going to current transportation. And impose an additional “surcharge” to cover the cost of pensions, retiree health care, and debt service other than debts approved by referendum.

    You’d hear a lot less complaining about the transportation received from the fare if people realized that wasn’t where the fare was going.

    In addition, the agency’s name should be changed to the Metropolitan Debt Service Authority. And the name of the school system should be changed to the Department of Early Retirement.

  • http://fastlane.dot.gov/2010/06/its-official-bike-lanes-open-down-americas-main-street.html

    Not mentioned in Today’s Headlines June 23, 2010 bike lanes down the center of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC is great news.

    They also allow Segways which is also important.

  • Larry, what percentage of MTA expenses is retiree obligations?

  • J:Lai

    Hey Larry, just curious, if the MTA were to file for bankruptcy, do you think they should screw the bond holders, or the retirees pensions?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Larry, what percentage of MTA expenses is retiree obligations?”

    Accordig to the 2010 budget, debt service ($1.9 billion) and pensions ($1.0 billion) totaled $2.9 billion; fare revenues totaled $4.5 billion and toll revenues totaled $1.4 billion. Though of course the MTA has other revenue sources, I feel confortable saying half of all fare and toll revenues go to debts and pensions, because that is what the debts are based on and fares are what get raised when pension costs rise. Retiree health care costs are not typically broken out relative to other health care costs — total health and welfare was $1.15 billion. Total MTA opeating spending was $12 billion.

    And it will get worse. And as far as I’m concerned, moreover, they aren’t putting enough in to cover their current pension promises, let alone the 20/50 pension plan they are bound to be handed sooner or later (probably just before the entire legislature retires en masse and moves to Florida, after appointing their offspring to replace them in special elections). And debts continue to soar.

    I await the release of Census of Governments data to analyze the effect of past deals on the future. But that data will be a few years old, and things have gotten worse since — with even more borrowing.

  • Larry: okay, so the MTA spends $1 billion of its about $5.2 billion labor costs on pensions. It’s pretty high. It’s still nowhere near as what you’d save going down to the staffing levels of Japanese subways.

    Debt service is a completely different thing. Every agency issues debt. The issue for the MTA going forward is that its capital projects cost several times as much as comparable projects in non-US cities, pushing the debt up. You can’t get rid of it because if the MTA tries to declare bankruptcy a judge will tell it to double the fares, cut staffing to reasonable levels, and deal with it.

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