Home Asides Paterson rep torpedos MTA capital plan

Paterson rep torpedos MTA capital plan

by Benjamin Kabak

Gov. David Paterson, long threatening to block the MTA’s $28 billion five-year capital plan, has seen his wish come true. Stan Gee, the Governor’s one representative to the state’s capital review board, has voted against approval for the five-year campaign. Even though the other commissioners voted for the plan, the CRB is required to approve proposals unanimously.

This rejection will send the MTA back to the drawing board, and State Sen. Craig M. Johnson urged a quick revision from the authority. “In light of Acting Commissioner Gee’s veto of the proposed 2010-2014 Capital Plan, I strongly recommend the MTA reaccess [sic] its capital needs and present a better, balanced, and more responsible plan to the CPRB,” he said. “There has to be a better way than the $28.1 billion proposal passed by the MTA Board, which had a $10 billion deficit and funding for only two of the plan’s five years. I am confident the MTA and its board can scale down the proposed capital plan in a very short time based on witnessing the breathtaking speed the MTA was able to reduce its operating budget by more than $400 million.”

Happy 2010, MTA.

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Marc Shepherd January 1, 2010 - 4:28 pm

I would say that both sides are wrong. The MTA needs every penny of the $28.1 billion. Indeed, it needs a lot more, but that was probably the most it thought it could get approved—a judgment that proved to be optimistic.

But Sen. Johnson is right that a plan that assumes a $10 billion deficit and that is funded for only two of its five years makes no sense. No doubt the MTA figured that if it could get the first two years approved, it could worry about the rest later, but that’s short-sighted thinking, no more acceptable when the MTA does it than when the legislature does it.

Jehiah January 1, 2010 - 5:26 pm

I agree. The “plan” is right because the capital work needs to be done, and should not be cut back any further.

It’s not a budget for those years yet, but it is difficult to accept the plan with budgets in mind without such a large amount of funding identified. The focus needs to be on developing funding for the last 3 years of the plan, not on cutting back the plan.

Alon Levy January 1, 2010 - 8:03 pm

The rep is right. Until the state starts threatening cuts in capital funding, the MTA is going to keep spending 7 times as much money as necessary to build things.

Aaron January 1, 2010 - 9:43 pm

Yeah, I’m still waiting for you to tell us where MTA is spending so much money than other cities. Labor? Materials? Health care? Eminent domain? rolling stock? You’re so obsessed with this and I’m serious that I’d love to know what it is that’s going on. You seem to be familiar with the numbers – there has to be cost comparisons out there, there’s more civil engineering publications out there than I can shake a stick at.

I’ve been trying to do some google searches, but believe it or not the searches lead back to your other numerous comments on this site saying the same thing over and over again. Don’t confuse frequency with accuracy.

Alon Levy January 2, 2010 - 11:57 am

Aaron, if I knew why the MTA spent too much money, I wouldn’t be commenting here; I’d be working as a capital construction consultant. But I doubt it’s rolling stock, which costs the same in New York as everywhere else, or eminent domain, which works the same way in every city. Labor and health care, maybe, but they should raise costs 25-50% over European and Japanese costs, not 200-700%. Paris isn’t Shenzhen. But, as I said, I’m not sure.

If you’re looking for project costs, look for specific projects – the ones I’m comparing SAS to are the Oedo Line, the Fukotoshin Line, U55 in Berlin, Paris Metro Line 14, and the Jubilee Line extension. There are a few more comparable projects, mostly less expensive – e.g. one fully underground line in Madrid, passing through densely populated territory, cost $80 million/km. Most of these numbers come from Railway Technology and Urban Transport Technology.

Andrew January 3, 2010 - 12:06 am

Build things? Only 20% of the capital plan is for system expansion (MTA Capital Construction). (Of that 20%, only 26% is for SAS.)


A five-year capital plan, reevaluated and resubmitted :: Second Ave. Sagas April 23, 2010 - 3:26 pm

[…] last we saw the MTA’s 2010-2014 five-year capital plan, it had just been rejected by the state’s Capital Review Board with the lone and costly nay vote coming from Gov. David Paterson’s representative on the […]


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