Apr
05

Link: Richardson on the MTA’s capital plan

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As the major players with stakes invested in the MTA’s capital plan gain a better sense of what the next few years hold, they have grown more willing to discuss the short- and long-term futures for the agency’s ambitious construction scope. We know the authority may scale back on mega-projects after 2014, and that’s a development sure to dismay the contractors and construction companies that benefit, perhaps too much so, from the MTA’s dollars.

Today, Streetsblog checks in with Denise Richardson, the head of the General Contractors Association and one-time MTA official. Richardson speaks of the fears the city had as Albany played chicken with the capital plan and the ways in which the federal government still has sway over the debate.

GCA members are still a bit wary of the House Republicans’ transportation bill, but the immediate focus is on debt. The big takeaway from Richardson:

DR: There has to be a very serious conversation about how to fund the MTA, which is part of the larger conversation about funding infrastructure nationally. We’re not the only place that’s having this debate. As we head into 2014 and the next MTA capital plan, we have to really talk about how we’re going to fund the MTA going forward.

This is a debt-laden capital plan. Everyone who follows the MTA knows that. To the MTA’s credit, what they’re doing is they’re paying off old debt while they take on new debt. The new debt has very favorable terms. Interest rates are as low as they’re ever going to be, so they’re swapping less favorable debt for more favorable debt. But it’s still debt and it still needs to paid. We have to look at a revenue source for the MTA that is stable, recurring and will be there.

With the threat of both federal and state spending drying up over the next few years — and the way such infrastructure spending may be tied into November’s presidential election — no one knows what the next five-year capital plan will resemble. Everyone involved though agrees: The debt situation is getting out of hand.



One Response to “Link: Richardson on the MTA’s capital plan”

  1. David Brown says:

    I really would be shocked if funding does not remain for the Second Ave Subway (Everyone agrees that it is a priority), and the MTA discussed signals so that will likely be done. The questions really are what else will be done, how much will it cost, and how will it be paid for? I can tell you I will gladly pay more in weekly rides if it involves fixing up West 4th St Station and (Or) 14th St (F & M). I do a reverse commute from Long Island to Penn Station, and I have to transfer at one of those stations for the F or M going to Delancey/Essex St. The smell and loud drums at West 4th, has actually made it a worse station to deal with than Chambers St (J) (149th (2, 4 & 5 might be my pick as the worst overall station, because not only is it disgusting, but if you are on the 2 or 5 you must go through the 4 train exits). If the MTA said we will raise fares even by .50 a ride, or $2.00 per week for Metro Cards but the added fares would be to fund fixing up a couple of stations like those mentioned, they could actually overcome the charge that it is being done at the expense of the poor (Since 149th (Or the almost as bad 138th st)is in a poor area, and the poor would benefit). Whatever happens it will be interesting.

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