July 30, 2020
The NYC Citizens Budget Commission report confirms that the MTA $51 billion 2020 - 2024 Capital Plan is no longer financially feasible. The MTA needs to conduct an forensic audit of $12 billion worth of Federal Transit Administration funding projects and programs in active grants for unspent balances. In 2020, the FTA made available $1.4 billion in various formula program funds. On October 1st, an additional $1.5 billion in 2021 funds will become available. The MTA can reprogram all of these funds toward covering capital improvements and operating deficits as a result of COVID-19.
There is also $4 billion of local funding for the $6.9 billion Second Avenue Subway Phase Two, $1.5 billion for the Bronx East Metro North Penn Station Access, 1% Arts in Transit capital projects expenditure requirement and millions on outside consultants. All combined could provide the MTA with $6 billion more toward COVID-19.
Uncle Sam has a $26.5 trillion dollar long term debt. It will grow $1 trillion annually until 2030. Who will bail out Washington? Everyone can't continue spending money we don't have. Millions of New Yorkers make due with significant income loss. The MTA needs to likewise.
(Larry Penner is a transportation advocate,historian and writer who previously worked 31 years for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, NYC Transit bus and subway, Staten Island Rail Road, Long Island and Metro North Rail Roads, MTA Bus along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ).