MTA Capital Plan Calls for $4.5B in Pricing Revenues

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The MTA released a five-year, $29.5 billion capital plan today. As expected, the agency’s course relies heavily on congestion pricing, to the tune of $4.5 billion in revenue.

Highlights of the three-tiered plan:

  • Tier 1 ($20 billion) includes 590 new subway cars, 2,976 buses, 440 commuter rail cars, 44 subway station rehabilitations, and system-wide shop, yard and signal upgrades
  • Tier 2 ($26.3 billion) completes current projects: East Side Access, the first phase of Second Avenue Subway, Fulton Street Transit Center and the South Ferry subway station
  • Tier 3 ($29.5 billion): Communications-based Train Control, Second Avenue Subway Next Phase, Penn Station Access, Jamaica capacity improvements, No. 7 Line fleet expansion, capacity planning studies and sustainability investments

The plan includes $767 million in congestion pricing related transit expansions, among them:

  • 12 new bus routes in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx
  • Increased service on 48 bus routes in Staten Island, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx
  • 309 new buses
  • Increased service on the 1, E, F
  • Longer trains on the C

MTA exec Lee Sander made no bones about the plan’s reliance on pricing, as The Real Estate reports:

The message from the state agency was clear: If the Legislature does not approve congestion pricing, the MTA will have to substantially scale back its ambitions.

“Congestion pricing is absolutely critical to funding this plan, but more important, to provide an ongoing revenue stream,” MTA executive director Lee Sander said at the agency’s board meeting.

TRE calls the plan "an apparent effort to bolster political support for congestion pricing," a theme likely to be repeated as the March 31 federal funding deadline nears. 

The full text of the MTA press release is here. A PowerPoint presentation is also available on the MTA web site.

  • Re: “an apparent effort to bolster political support for congestion pricing,” . . . it’s about time! I’ve been hungering for some real leadership from MTA and the new blood may take up the standard.

    With the rampant development in recent years and the increased ridership, we need major investment in infrastructure. These proposals are all steps in the right direction.

    The add’l trains on the F line are an encouraging first step towards enhanced F/V/G local/express service once the Culver Viaduct work is complete.

    I also think the CBTC is a sound investment for squeezing more out of the track we have, and reducing costs long term.

  • m.i.a.

    Yeah, but.. uh.. where’s Bloomberg on this issue? Seems like he’s disowned it. First he introduces it and then he lets it off like a stepchild. Why hasn’t he shown leadership on it since introducing it? Odd.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Don’t you all see what a disaster this is? CP revenues are pegged at $500 mil per year. They plan to spend nine years of CP revenues in a five year plan by borrowing from future revenues. And there is $4 billion in additional bonds besides.

    And they are $10 billion short. For another $6 billion they will complete what is already under way, which was supposed to have been fully funded in the last plan. All NYC will get from MTA revenues is three stops on the Second Avenue Subway. That’s all, unless Tier III is funded.

    It does not appear they asked why all this stuff costs so much. And, they seem to have decided that since they are so deep in the hole, they might as well keep digging.

  • angeleno

    I think CBTC is a terribly unsound investment, for the simple reason that it doesn’t actually work. They’ve taken a very long time to get it working, and as far as I know, still haven’t managed to do it. There’s a simple reason: radios just don’t work very well in tunnels, and WiFi, which their CBTC system is based on, works even less well. It’s mainly been a good way for a few key MTA people to get cushy consulting jobs with the CBTC vendor (I’ve actually seen evidence of this).

    Of course, it would be good for the MTA to get more capacity out of their existing system, and the way to do that is to speed up trains, to install a cab signal system on congested lines, of the kind that’s used on the CTA, or the LIRR, or heck, even the Staten Island Railway. Stations need to be improved too, to make sure they can handle the ridership, and to better connect things. I hope they’re still planning on building a transfer from Jay St to Lawrence St in Brooklyn.

  • anon

    Larry – Any idea why no one is making the connection between the corruption-driven filtration plant project (a tunneling project) and the 2nd Ave. subway? How can these projects be kept to budgets when there’s essentially one organization that does this work, and thus calls the shots in writing the bids, getting the bids, and then adding to the price once its off and running?

  • Don’t you all see what a disaster this is?

    Now that you mention it, it does look pretty disastrous. Remember during the last fare hike in 2006 when all these documents came out about the MTA’s massive debt service? Last I checked, they hadn’t paid any of that down, and now they want to borrow 9.5 BILLION dollars more?

    I’d like to see at least two other versions of this plan: (1) without congestion pricing revenue, (2) without borrowing anything.

    I’m not an expert in finance, but it seems that this is a really bad time to take on new debt. Interest rates are higher than they were a few years ago, revenues are declining. Can anyone do the numbers for us? If the MTA borrowed this $9.5 billion, how much would that add to interest payments for every year? What would the total interest payments be? What percentage of the total budget? How much of a decline in revenue would it take to get the MTA to a point where it would no longer have any money to cover operating costs?

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of new buses and trains. But let’s be sensible about this.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The first tier is ongoing normal replacement. It is five years worth. How the hell can you keep borrowing for 30 years to pay for ongoing normal replacement. Eventually you go bankrupt, ongoing normal replacement stops, and the system collapses.

    Basically, the only money that is being both collected and spent over five year is federal. That’s it. All those state, local and MTA taxes we pay are now contributing ALMOST ZERO to the MTA capital program. (Note that the rollover money is borrowed rollover money).

    Where are all the state, local and MTA taxes going? The state is paying operating support to keep the far far lower than it used to be relative to inflation. For now. The city is putting up nothing. The MTA taxes are going to pay PAST debts, PAST pensions, and operating subsidies. So are the toll revenues.

    I see only one solution. Bankruptcy.

  • anonymous

    Bankruptcy is a wonderful idea! It has a long and storied history in the field of transit construction, with at least a couple of Manhattan’s els having been financed by massive borrowing, followed by construction and then bankruptcy. What the MTA should do is borrow heavily, use all that money to build as much as possible as quickly as possible, then go bankrupt. Break up the MTA, and either form a new umbrella agency or just let the various parts go their separate ways. The subway could come back under city control, the commuter lines could become quasi-public agencies operating under contracts from NY State and Connecticut, and the debt-bloated carcass of Capital Construction can be left to rot away quietly.

  • brooklyn and i

    will the Brooklyn section from all the Bridges ( Brooklyn Bridge- williamsburg Bridge ) neighborhood’s bee the” park and ride ” for all long island cars
    it is very hard to find a normal parking space in Brooklyn. what dangress effect it will be to the the local residential environmental and business?

  • JF

    No.
    None.

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