Thursday, July 28, 2005

Why Does the MTA Keep Screwing Us?

I'm a big advocate of public transportation and alternative forms of transportation (bicycles, walking, etc). But I'm now about to narrow that to, "I'm a big advocate of alternative forms of transportation." I've just about had it with the Metropolitan Transit Authority, and it has nothing to do with the fact that the last three times I've tried to get home at night there's been some kind of "unexpected" service interruption (how do four R trains deciding to pass by the local stop at 11:30 p.m. count as an unexpected service interruption?). Apparently, the MTA now has an "unexpected" surplus of $833 million and still plans to raise fares again in 2007. So what, you say? Well, this is at least the third time since I moved to New York five years ago that the MTA has predicted a deficit or close to it, and "amazingly and unexpectedly" ended up with a surplus. Check out this article in today's New York Times:
Buoyed by an unexpected surge in tax revenue, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced yesterday that it would have a surplus of $833 million this year and that it would consider using the money to create a giant platform over its West Side railyards, which it could then sell to developers for office and apartment towers. Despite the surplus, the authority indicated that it still planned to raise fares and tolls in 2007 and 2009. The windfall represents a remarkable - but probably short-lived - reversal of fortunes for the authority, which in February had projected a tiny surplus for the year and large deficits starting next year. It now predicts that a combination of soaring tax revenue and low interest rates will add $493 million, all of it not previously anticipated, to its coffers by December. Full Story...
Sure, some of that money is used for capital projects, like the Stillwell Avenue Terminal, but what do most New Yorkers get for this surplus on a daily basis? More delays, fewer token booth attendants and higher fares. Ass holes...

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