ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli warns that mass transit riders could get stuck holding the bag should the Metropolitan Transportation Authority not receive the $9.8 billion in funding it seeks from the New York City and New York state governments.
In his report, released Tuesday, DiNapoli questions whether the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or MTA, will be able to limit future fare and toll increases to 4 percent when there is a multi-billion gap in its five-year capital program.
"While we don’t yet know how the gap will be closed, we do know that the public mass transportation system is critical to the state and city economies” DiNapoli said. “If the MTA doesn’t get the funding it needs, the MTA will have to choose between cutting the size of the capital program or borrowing more, which could lead to less reliable service or higher fares and tolls.”
According to the comptroller, the MTA has sought to increase the state and city contributions to the current budget by $1 billion and $700 million respectively.
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have acknowledged the importance of the MTA's capital program, there has been no action on the requested money, DiNapoli said, noting that "as a result, it is not yet possible to assess the impact on the MTA’s finances, its fare and toll-paying customers or the state and city budgets."
DiNapoli said there is potential for even larger financial gaps to emerge "because the MTA is assuming the economy will continue to grow without interruption."
Given the recent uncertainty in the economy, DiNapoli suggested the MTA increase its fiscal reserves.
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