For those regular readers of SAS, the latest from Richard Ravitch isn’t shocking, but it’s a warning sign nonetheless. In an interview with The Post last week, the current Lieutenant Governor and one-time MTA head expressed fears over the financial future of the MTA. “I don’t see much basis for hope. I’m very concerned,” he told Tom Namako and Carl Campanile. With real estate tax revenues for 2010 already $18 million under projection, the authority is going to have to scramble throughout the year to stay afloat, and Ravitch, the architect of last year’s funding plan, doesn’t see anyone in Albany stepping up to bat for the authority any time soon.
So what is the MTA to do? It can’t declare bankruptcy; it can’t absolve itself of old capital debts or current employment agreements. It can continue to cut services, but cutting our bus and subway options would risk incurring the wrath of commuters. It can also look to raise fares, a certainty for 2011 but an idea that hasn’t gained much traction this year. No matter the path, though, 2010 will be a struggle for the MTA at a time when New York City most needs its transit options.