Thursday, November 19, 2009

MTA releases final proposed 2010 budget, 2010-2013 financial plan

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York released its Final Proposed 2010 Budget and November Financial Plan for 2010-2013. The approximately $11-billion 2010 Final Proposed Budget is balanced with no fare increase or reductions to scheduled service, with the help of rescue legislation enacted in Albany in May. The MTA acknowledged significant potential risks to the budget, however, setting aside an $85-million reserve and pledging an overhaul of operations to improve efficiency and address the current fiscal reality.

"From a narrow context, we see increased stability and are grateful that we can present a balanced budget without impacting our customers," said Jay Walder, MTA Chairman and CEO. "But the MTA remains in a very fragile position with a number of risks on the horizon. This fiscal reality demands that we permanently overhaul the way the MTA does business. The bottom line is that there is no more money for us in Albany, and we will learn to do more with the funding we have."

Walder said that he will re-launch and chair a Board working group that will look at ways the MTA can fundamentally change its business model to operate more cost effectively, improve performance and provide better value to taxpayers and customers.

The MTA's budget process begins with the presentation of a preliminary budget and financial plan in July, followed by a revised plan in November. The MTA is required to pass a balanced budget by the end of the calendar year, and a final plan will be considered by the MTA Board at its December 16 meeting. The November Financial Plan reflects several changes from projections made in the agency's preliminary budget in July: real estate tax revenues fell even further than projected, while ridership did not decline as much as expected. In addition, actions taken over the summer to reduce costs led to lower than expected overall spending. As a result, the MTA was able to establish an $85 million reserve in light of potential risks, including the outcome of the arbitration process with TWU Local 100 and proposed State cuts.

The full budget and a PowerPoint summary are available online at www.mta.info.

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