MTA gives post-Sandy update

December 10, 2012 Denise Romano
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Metropolitan Transit Authority board member Allen Cappelli and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis gave a quick update on the agency’s post-Sandy recovery on December 5.

Damages from the storm will cost the MTA a whopping $5 billion, something that the state will eventually have to deal with, Malliotakis said.

“We have to look for other sources of revenue and ways the state can assist the MTA so they don’t have to continually go to the commuter to ask for more money,” she explained, adding that the proposed toll and fare hikes are hurting residents.

Cappelli said that the agency hopes to get the lion’s share of that $5 billion from FEMA, but the process could take three to four years. In the meantime, the MTA does have insurance that he “hopes” will be able to cover most of the damages.

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“Hopefully that will allow us to get some cash flow in the long run,” he said.

Another way to cut costs is to waive the bond fee paid by the MTA to the state, something Malliotakis was successful in doing this year.

“For the great privilege of borrowing money, we have to pay a fee,” Cappelli explained.

“When the MTA came to the state and said ‘I want to issue more debt,’ I automatically got up and said, ‘This is wrong,’” Malliotakis said. “This is why we are in such an unsustainable path. They continue to issue more and more debt for projects. We should waive that fee permanently. We shouldn’t be having a tax on a state agency. [We are] putting them [MTA] deeper in debt.”

Cappelli said that last year, when the bond fees were waived, the MTA saved about $44 million. In order to make this a permanent practice, either the governor can decree it or legislation can be passed.

“I plan on making this a point of focus this year,” Malliotakis said. “I am also prepared to introduce legislation and work with both sides of the aisle to get this bond fee waived permanently if the budget process doesn’t allow.”

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