Recent reports cite fiscal challenges across the MTA.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I-Brooklyn, Staten Island) and MTA Board Member Allen Cappelli today blasted the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) over its continued cost-overruns and fiscal irresponsibility. The MTA once again pushed back the completion date and budget forecast for the East Side Access project for the fourth time in 10 years. The MTA now estimates the project will likely not be completed until September 2020 or 2021, at a final cost ranging from $9.3 billion to $9.7 billion. A recent audit by the New York State Comptroller also found that Metro North and LIRR wasted money on employee overtime for hand washing, commuting and changing clothes.
Other recent reports have disagreed with the MTA projections. These reports argue the project may not be completed until 2023 at a cost of $10.8 billion — or 14 years later than first planned and $6.5 billion over the initial budget estimate. The authority originally estimated the link between the LIRR and Grand Central Terminal would be ready for riders by 2009 at a cost of $4.3 billion.
“This is exactly the reason the MTA is in such a dire fiscal situation, and commuters across our community are continually asked to shell out more, which has led to the highest tolls in the nation. It is absurd and completely unacceptable that a government agency could possibly miscalculate time and cost overruns to the point that they now exceed $6.5 billion and 10 years,” said Malliotakis.
“What is particularly galling is that the MTA is going to spend $10 billion so 150,000 people don’t have to take a quick train ride across town, while 500,000 people on Staten Island need a real rail link to the rest of the system,” said MTA Board Member Allen Cappelli.
In 2011, both Malliotakis and Cappelli voted against increased debt and the MTA Capital plan in the legislature and on the MTA board respectively.
Legislators call on agency to put their chips on the table in the public eye
Senator Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C, 60th District) recently announced that they are sponsoring legislation calling for an independent audit of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA)’s finances. The pair highlighted developments in recent years that have led to the need for light to be shed on the way that the MTA spends taxpayer money.
“The MTA consistently deals with a deficit of its own creation and consistently comes to the taxpayers of this state with their hands out,” said Senator Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island). “They create mess after mess and then pass the buck onto taxpayers by hiking fares and cutting services. The MTA’s finances should be independently examined to seek greater efficiencies and cut expenses, just like the rest of us have had to do in our own households and businesses.”
“By decreasing services while increasing fares and tolls, the MTA has demonstrated that their problems stem not from a lack of revenue, but from mismanagement and inefficiency,” said Malliotakis. “Even with additional funding from the disastrous MTA Payroll Tax, driver’s license and registration fees, taxes on car rentals and a litany of other charges, the 60th Assembly District has seen eight bus lines either scaled back or completely eliminated. An independent audit of the MTA’s finances would allow the public to see how their money is being spent, while enabling state government to pinpoint the waste and inefficiency that has allowed the agency’s spending to spiral out of control.”
Lanza is sponsoring Senate Bill 4637, while Malliotakis is sponsoring the Assembly companion, 7856.