From real estate developers to riders, outerborough New Yorkers and Manhattanites to tourists, everyone would benefit from the MTA getting a full $32 billion to enact its transit improvement and expansion plan, argues a new report.
The Urban Land Institute with the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA released Wednesday "Keeping New York on Track" to stress the need to pay for these improvements.
Economic vitality of the city, ability to attract new workers and visitors, and transport people with new commuting patterns in growing neighborhoods, hinge on a well-functioning transit system that can grow along with the city.
"We need to find the courage to face the issue and it's getting worse," said Janno Lieber of Silverstein Properties at a panel talk on the report. "Whatever the sources are [for transit funds], are going to require real political leadership and we're all hoping that it will emerge."
There are few details about where the MTA will get money for the $32 billion, five-year plan, which is still roughly $15 billion short.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State address said $750 million would go to the MTA; and a 10-year spending proposal from Mayor Bill de Blasio this week included $400 million for the transit agency, though that was characterized by an administration official as a placeholder as negotiations with the MTA continue.
Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for the city, said a "comprehensive picture" of the de Blasio administration's contribution to transit infrastructure will be in his capital spending plan due in spring.
Bill Henderson, director of PCAC, said New York leaders must avoid forcing the MTA to borrow the money it needs, putting pressure to raise fares or pare back its maintenance and expansion goals.
"There's a recognition that the need is great," Henderson said. "Unfortunately, the need is very great, even compared to what the state and the city have thus far indicated they'll be putting into the capital program."