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Rail News: Passenger Rail

MTA OKs 2012 budget and four-year financial plan


Yesterday, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) board approved a budget for 2012 and four-year financial plan.

The board also amended the 2010-2014 capital program that outlines how the final three years of the program are to be funded. The funding plan, announced in July and updated last month, must be approved by the MTA Capital Program Review Board in Albany, MTA officials said in a prepared statement.

The budget reflects an $87 million reduction in revenue projected to be raised through taxes dedicated for public transportation. As a result, the MTA projects an operating deficit of $68 million in 2012. The agency plans to make up the deficit by reducing internal expenses by $35 million and releasing $33 million in general reserves funds, officials said.

“The reduction in projected subsidies underscores the fragility of the MTA's current fiscal stability,” said MTA Executive Director Joseph Lhota. “It also indicates how important it is for the MTA to continue its recent efforts to reduce costs, even as we work to improve service.”

The budget identifies potential risks to the four-year plan: a worsening economy; additional cuts in state subsidies and dedicated taxes; expense reductions that might not be achieved; labor settlements that fall short of the net zero wage initiative; and funding for the 2012-2014 capital program still to be approved.

The capital program funding plan calls for revenue already committed to capital in the budget to fund new bonds, and has three primary benefits: It requires no new revenue; it protects a capital program that “delivers safety and reliability” to the transit system; and it delivers jobs and stability in the MTA's capital program, MTA officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/22/2011