Thursday’s Headlines: Fiscal Cliff Edition
Don’t sugar-coat it, give it to us straight, MTA press office.
“MTA Preliminary Budget Forecasts Fiscal Cliff,” said the headline on the MTA’s official press release yesterday, employing terrifying, frightening, scary words that public officials tend to like to avoid. “New, Dedicated Streams of Funding Needed to Preserve Essential Transit Service While Avoiding Substantial Fare Increases and Layoffs. Annual Structural Deficit Projected at $2.5 Billion Within Two Years, Rising to $2.75 Billion in 2028.” [Emphasis ours.]
Two and a half billion dollars annually?! (Emphasis ours again!) That’s a lot of money that the MTA will need to keep running our transit system once federal Covid bucks stop trickling in by 2024. (We covered it last week, by the way.)
But wait, there’s a tarnished silver lining in this storm cloud of discontent: MTA CFO Kevin Willens recommended that some federal money get held back so that the deficit wouldn’t be so big (emphasis ours). But then, of course, “New revenue sources are required in 2023.” Easier said than done, Kevin!
In any event, this and other MTA news was the talk of the local press:
- As we said, we covered the fiscal cliff last week, so we focused on the latest delay in congestion pricing while the Post and amNY focused on the members of the membership of the Transportation Mobility Review Board.
- The Daily News covered how Nassau County MTA board rep David Mack voted against congestion pricing because the MTA denied him a placard.
In other news:
- The biggest story of the day was David Meyer’s blistering piece in the Post about how Rep. Carolyn Maloney (now in the fight of her political life against cross-town rival Jerry Nadler) personally intervened to prevent the city from adding a bike lane to East 85th Street — where a Citi Bike rider was killed by a trucker on Tuesday. We covered part of that outrage (the Woody Allen part).
- The city had a “day of awareness” about speed cameras to remind reckless drivers that on Aug. 1, they’ll be caught speeding 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (amNY)
- At the literal 11th hour and one day after Dave Colon’s explainer, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli begged the Public Authorities Control Board to delay its vote on the Penn Station renovation scheme (NY Post). But the board went ahead with the vote anyway (though only to approve part of the agreement, not the whole package, the Daily News reported. The Post spun the vote as a “big boost,” which it is, obviously. Gothamist and amNY played it straight.)
- This story about a former Cuomo staffer killed by a driver in Delaware is sad, tragic and, frankly, criminal. (Times Union)
- Like Streetsblog and Upper East Site, the Post covered the death of Citi Bike rider Carling Mott on E. 85th Street.
- In case you missed it, climate researcher Anita Raman pointed out in a Daily News op-ed that we need more secure bike parking. The main takeaway? “If the city’s Department of Transportation converted just 5 percent of its three million free car street parking spaces to enclosed, lockable bike shelters, it could expand cycling access to up to another 900,000 New Yorkers. … If it expanded Citi Bike to every neighborhood of all five boroughs, it could serve millions more.” Raman gave a shout-out to Oonee, the bike parking company whose six-location pilot has come and gone. We wonder if the DOT has a plan?
- Speaking of boosting cycling, we learned that Mayor Adams will give introductory comments at the Micromobility America conference in September. Maybe Hizzoner will announce lots of great stuff then? (Via Twitter)
- City Lab pointed out again why it’s so terrible that New York’s regional transit network is so disconnected.
- When you read about Tokyo, it’s not a leap to see why bike lanes help local businesses. (City Lab)