Today’s Headlines

  • Mark-Viverito: East Harlem Deserves the Same Safe Streets as Chelsea and Park Slope (News)
  • Bloomberg Calls Subway Infrastructure “Inadequate” and Underfunded… (DNAinfo)
  • …And Says It Behooves City Hall to Stay Out of Albany’s Problem (Cap NY)
  • Motorist Hits and Kills Sheepshead Bay Deliveryman, Flees Scene (News)
  • Staten Island Makes Drunk Driving a Priority as Arrests Drop in Rest of City (Post)
  • Crain’s Names MTA a State of the State Loser
  • Lefevre Family Lawsuit Against NYPD Picked Up By NYTWSJPost
  • Bill McKibben: Transit Workers Are the Face of Environmentalism (News)
  • Free Fares for Transit Workers: Special Privilege or Fair Compensation? (NYT)
  • MTA Lets Riders Know Its Plans for Winter Weather (Post)
  • UES NIMBYs Continue to Oppose Elevator Access to Subway (DNAinfo)
  • Andrea Bernstein and Brian Lehrer Discuss the Lack of Transit in Cuomo State of State (WNYC)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill


  • Larry Littlefield

    A few points about Cuomo’s plans thus far:

    1)  As far as I know, he is proposing fixing highways and bridges, not adding new ones.  And he has cut back on repairs in NYC.

    2)  The state’s transportation trust fund for roads and bridges is in the same state as the MTA capital plan, unfunded because all the money goes to past debts.

    3)  When the MTA payroll tax was passed, nothing was done to address the road and bridge shortfall.

    4)  Public-private partnerships mean tolls.  Perhaps Cuomo would be willing to charge for roads and bridges a second time (with the auto-related taxes going to debts) rather than having them fall apart.  The future is screwed either way.  I’m not sure what that means for the MTA.

    5)  The MTA is NOT underfunded.  It would have all the money it needs, and then some, with some productivity gains and fares no higher than in the past adjusted for inflation, if all it had to pay for was transportation today. 

    The problem is that the MTA’s money is going to past debts and pension underfunding, and this keeps getting worse.   This has be to pointed out to people, pushed in their face.  EVERYTHING will seem to be a bad deal if people compare what they are paying to what they are getting

  • Larry Littlefield

    Following up, I don’t think it makes sense politically for transit advocates to demand “more money for the MTA.”

    Instead they should demand that the state and city pay for the Pataki/Giuliani/ Bloomberg MTA debts and pension hole, rather than forcing the transit system to do it.  .

    The MTA would then use its existing dedicated revenues, which it would get to keep, to pay for operating and capital expenses, with no more borrowing except to pay for entirely new infrastructure (ie. the SAS and ESA).

  • ddartley

    Last night on my bike commute home down 5th Ave in Manhattan, over the span of less than six blocks, I saw two instances of  undercover cop cars having pulled cars over.  Nice to see, although very unusual.

  • fj

    re:  “Bloomberg Calls Subway Infrastructure “Inadequate” and Underfunded (DNAinfo)

    Especially when the subway system requires more than $15 billion to harden it against storms — accelerating in frequency and ferocity with climate change — sufficient to knock it out of commission for a month or more costing many times more in financial losses; not mentioned by both Bloomberg and Walder but must be known by both.

    And, not totally unlike developing world poverty traps where extreme poverty breeds more poverty.

  • Glenn

    Casinos and convention centers dependent on air travel seem like a big waste of money when oil prices are going over $100/barrel and staying there. NYC doesn’t need dumb attractions like casinos to attract record numbers of visitors each year. Improving cultural & arts organizations and existing infrastructure would be a much better investment not only in money but in keeping the social fabric together.

  • fj

    Gotta love social change maestro Bill McKibben visionary activist . . . and all around nice guy; knows the power structure causing the problems and goes after it; typical of action movies and the great American myths of survival and success against insurmountable odds.

    re:  “Bill McKibben: Transit Workers Are the Face of Environmentalism (News)

  • carma


    last night i have seen just way way too much stupidity.  as i was crossing queens blvd, i saw a driver chatting away on the phone, ran a light.  then realized he ran the light and stopped a quarter way at the intersection and continued to chat away.  what was worse was, a Ford expedition was behind him wasnt paying attention that the light was already red,  but only the car in front thinking he was still moving nearly rear ended the clueless chatty driver.

    Halfway through the light cycle, all traffic is blocked.  noone can pass, and a traffic jam is created through two light cycles.  all because someone decided a conversation was worth it.

    and the punchline of all this.  THE FREAKING DUDE WAS STILL ON THE PHONE THE WHOLE TIME.

    now why couldnt a cop hand out a ticket to this moron.

  • Anonymous

    “The MTA is NOT underfunded.  It would have all the money it needs, and
    then some, with some productivity gains and fares no higher than in the
    past adjusted for inflation, if all it had to pay for was transportation
    today. ”

    Saying this is a bit of a semantic game.  The MTA has enormous liabilities in the form of un(der) funded pension obligations and debt service.  General Motors was also doing fine on a revenue vs. current expenditure basis, but was forced into bankruptcy largely due to pension liabilities.  These represent real costs, and the MTA is certainly underfunded when one accounts for these liabilities.

    In an equitable world removed from politics, it seems that the borrowing for capital improvements and maintenance should mostly be paid for through some combination of farebox revenue and real estate taxes, as the direct beneficiaries are the riders and real estate owners/developers.  Some amount of subsidy from general tax revenues at the city and state level is justified, although smaller, as the entire region benefits in an indirect way from good transit service in the city and metro region.

    The pension liabilities are a more difficult problem.  These represent benefits granted to a particularly constituency by political operatives, essentially a transfer payment to a politically powerful group.  Transfer payments are typically paid out of general revenues and not user fees or other dedicated revenue.  Therefore, it would be fair for the city and state to “top up” the pension liability to a fully funded state using general revenues.

    In reality, what is more likely is that riders, and to a lesser extent the region as a whole, will pay in the form of reduced service and disinvestment.

  • Anonymous

    A convention center is unlikely to bring significant economic benefit as a public investment.  New York City is already close to capacity in tourism, and the remote location seems unlikely to generate much additional spending outside of the hotels and services that will be used specifically for visitors to the convention center.

    Rather, it will be a huge windfall to the contractors who get government contracts and the developers who hold land in the area.  If the governor wants to give some money to his friends, it would be nice if he could at least do it in a way that has some incidental benefit for the rest of us.

  • fj

    Since NASA Goddard Director James Hansen lives and works in NYC, Streetsblog might want ask him if climate change has anything to do with this city’s transportation, public spaces, streets, safety, etc.

    Hansen et al:  “Extreme Heat Waves . . . in Texas and Oklahoma  in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 Were ‘Caused’ by Global Warming”

  • carma


    if the convention center NEARBY area also has an attraction that can bring outside visitors, then the revenue generated wont be limited to hotels and the convention center itself.

    current plans for a convention center near aqueduct has no attractions.  but if attractions were built ALONG with the convention center.  thats a different story in terms of revenue.

    the plan should also include not only the convention center, but an attraction worth coming to.

    in cuomo’s vision, that attraction  is full force gambling along with the convention center..

  • Larry Littlefield

    “In an equitable world removed from politics, it seems that the borrowing for capital improvements and maintenance should mostly be paid for through some combination of farebox revenue and real estate taxes.”

    You miss important distinctions.  Between maintenance, which is an ongoing expense, and PAST riders and taxpayer and FUTURE riders and taxpayers.  By paying for ongoing normal replacement and associated operating expenses with debt, these costs were both shifted from PAST riders and taxpayers to FUTURE riders and taxpayers.  That was the crime.

  • fj

    real reason safe streets are so difficult to get

    Bill McKibben, Armed With Naivete on Keystone XL Pipeline