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The MTA Portfolio is Rich

The MTA Portfolio is Rich

I originally posted this August 27th of last year. After learning about the fare hikes on the MTA’s bridges and tunnels, which will make tourism from the outer boroughs and tristate so expensive, I thought to repost. Instead of giving $15,600.00 to undocumented immigrants and charging people an arm and a leg to commute why not pull from the MTA’s own resources. Talk about the rich getting richer.

The MTA serves 15.3 million people and is run by the state of New York. They are asking Congress for $12 billion in funding before the end of 2021 and if not, they will raise metro fares to $3.75 and reduce services. Subway, wait times would increase by at least eight minutes. Taking a bus will take 15 minutes longer. Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains would run at every hour or two. 

Since ridership has decreased due to people leaving the city and no longer coming in, the agency projects a deficit of $3.2 billion in 2020. They will ask for an additional $8 billion in 2021.

MTA board members have also suggested raising a gas tax on car commuters to help fund transportation projects for the millions of daily commuters, who until deBlasio is out are not returning, especially since crime is up.

On August 5, the NYPD tweeted: ‘Between May 8th and August 3rd there has been 64 incidents where glass was broken on train cars on the 2,3,7 subway lines in Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx.’ 

The MTA employs more than 75,000 people. The operating budget for 2019 was $16.4 billion. There are 357 bus routes and subway and rail lines. The dailymail reported earlier this month horde of revelers descended on the #7239 bus in Maspeth, Queens, as the driver was pulling out of the Grand Avenue Depot at 3:35am. The riders were sharing hookah pipes back and forth and were riding without face coverings.      

The MTA has a vast portfolio of real estate and related property rights under its control. The MTA is required by law to publish, at least annually, a report listing all its real property. However, the MTA has not published such a report. As a result, the MTA’s vast real estate holdings have not been subject to the intended level of public accountability and transparency. The MTA leases space in its buildings to retailers and other tenants, sells advertising and rents to 15.1 million residents. They own 237 pages worth of property. Retail opportunities range from newsstands and cafés to bookstores and full-service restaurants. They also lease and license parking lots and industrial space. According to the MTA, the rental revenue from these activities totals about $199 million annually. In In 2018 they collected $707 million from advertising on its trains and buses alone.

They own Telecommunications and utilities with private and public sector organizations allowed installations.

They own Grand Central Terminal with over 500,000 visitors every day, the MTA’s Grand Central Terminal is a major New York City destination for transportation, shopping, dining, fresh food, public events, and entertainment. The terminal houses more than 90 retail operations, including restaurants, stores, and food shops. Vanderbilt Hall, situated adjacent to the Main Concourse of Grand Central, is a spectacular setting for special public and private events including corporate functions, benefits, and exhibits. 

Maybe the MTA should be honest about their real estate holdings and either sell or realize that they should give back to the city who paves their pockets.

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Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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