Mooney writes, "One of the MTA's biggest problems in recent years is that much of its funding comes from real estate taxes that are highly unstable. One, the mortgage recording tax, applies to mortgages taken out on real estate in the 12 counties the authority serves. The other taxes, collectively referred to in MTA records as the "urban tax subsidy," apply to large real estate transfers solely within New York City – and, in turn, fund only city-based services.
In a strong real estate market, these taxes are a reliable funding source: The former brought in $702 million in 2007, and the latter $861 million. But a year later, as the market had begun to decline, the MTA's revenue stream was drying up: In 2008, the mortgage tax brought the agency $416 million, and the urban taxes brought in $504 million."
Mooney also writes about the poor state of the MTA in the 1980s, and how the agency received the funding it needed to improve the system.
Thanks to Nekoro Gomes