MTA finds two billion dollars, stop to fare hikes politely requested

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Most of the money came from a “crossed arms while waiting” fee. Via Flickr’s drain.

When you dig around the couch cushions for money (and look who’s all fancy, owning a couch), what do you usually come up with? Some quarters and some old Fritos? That’s cute. You should try life at the MTA where you just might come upon a two billion dollar unanticipated surplus. Looks like the MTA selling candy car-to-car paid off.

But yes, actually seriously, the MTA has two billion extra dollars they found just sitting around. It comes mostly from cutting pension and healthcare costs, along with unexpected tax revenues and energy being cheaper. But, you ask, what will they actually do with this money? State comptroller Tom DiNapoli has suggested the agency not regularly raise fares, which is just adorable and probably won’t happen. If we had to guess, the MTA is going to tell us they’re putting it somewhere safe for the future, before getting wayyyy too drunk at a party and forgetting where they put it.

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  1. The MTA goes from crting piss broke to big surplus to piss broke quicker than a junkie on pay day. Didn’t this exact thing happen in 2007? And they STILL raised fares.

  2. If you had to live with as much uncertainty as does an agency that is at the mercy of federal and (worse) state government, that 2 billion looks a lot less impressive. They spend around 5 billion a year; 2 billion is not nothing, but it’s best served as an emergency fund – especially given increasing uncertainty around weather.

    At the end of the day, if you want to be pissed about how things play out with the MTA, you should be most pissed at the state government. They make the MTA fund 60% of their operations through fare revenue; no other agency in the country has to raise more than 40%. Or has to deal with Long Islander leaders not wanting to pay for their twice-already-subsidized/discounted mass transit.

  3. My favorite part about people complaining about rising fares is the idea that inflation doesn’t exist. In the face of diminishing funds from the state, inflation can’t be held back.

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