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Published on : Thursday, July 28, 2016
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today released its preliminary 2017 budget and four-year financial plan, continuing to raise targets for administrative and managerial cost savings across all agencies and making a number of investments to improve service quality and customer experience. The agency now expects to identify additional annual recurring savings of $50 million per year starting in 2017, pushing total annual recurring savings to nearly $2 billion by 2020.
The MTA’s 2017 budget and four-year financial plan also proposes more than $1 billion over four years for initiatives to improve customer experience, increase service and service support, increase support for the MTA Capital Program, enhance safety and security, and invest in necessary maintenance and operations.
The four-year financial plan provides $195 million from 2017 to 2020 to support capital projects that will improve the customer experience. This year alone, the MTA will equip 200 buses and 200 subway cars with Wi-Fi, USB charging ports, and digital screens. Next year, an additional 400 subway cars will have these amenities. MTA New York City Transit will also:
The MTA will also invest $36 million in new service, including new Select Bus Service routes in Queens: the Q52/Q53 and Q70. The Long Island Rail Road is restoring its weekend North Fork service to a year-round operation is adding summer trains to connect with Fire Island ferries, relieving congestion on Hamptons-bound trains. New York City Transit and the MTA Bus Company will also make up to $21 million in additional enhancements to the base level of service on subways and buses.
Investments in service support of $21 million will allow NYC Transit to enhance and expand its Lexington Avenue Line platform controller program. MTA Bridges and Tunnels will increase funding to meet increased demand on E-Z Pass New York Customer Service Center operations.
Consistent with the MTA’s long-standing practice of applying debt service savings towards capital funding, some $566 million of debt service savings from lower interest rates (both realized and projected) and from the Hudson Yards lease securitization have been found.
The MTA is proposing to invest an additional $46 million in safety and security initiatives over from 2017 to 2020 to augment existing measures designed to ensure the safety of pedestrians, customers and employees. These investments include upgrading railroad crossings, adding onboard vehicle cameras, “Help Point” intercoms, and security operations throughout the MTA.
The MTA continues to take steps to improve the reliability, efficiency and performance of its infrastructure, facilities and fleet, investing $145 million over the plan period. While these investments may not be as obvious to our customers as some of our other projects, they are essential to the operation of our system. Investments are being made that will improve the performance of certain buses, subway cars and commuter railroad cars. Additional investments are being made to structures and track, including expediting the LIRR’s West Side Yard expansion.
As a result of the cost savings found, the MTA expects to be able to limit the previously announced 2017 and 2019 fare and toll increases to no more than 4%. The increase is projected to provide the MTA with an additional $308 million in annual operating revenue, allowing for projected balanced budgets through 2019; however, a $371 million deficit is projected for 2020.
The MTA’s preliminary budget will be available for public review and comment until it is adopted by the MTA Board; the final proposed budget will be presented to the MTA Board in November and adopted by the MTA Board in December. In the fall, the MTA will present specific proposals for the 2017 all-agency fare and toll increases and will hold a series of public hearings to seek public reactions to the proposals.