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MTA Misses Deadline for State-Mandated Cost Comparison to World Cities

With some of the highest per-mile costs in the world, the state wants more accountability for New York City's transit spending.
February 18, 2021, 6am PST | Diana Ionescu | @aworkoffiction
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Clayton Guse reports that New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is late on delivering a state-mandated report that compares its operating expenses with those of transit agencies in similar international cities.

Last year, after a Marron Institute study found that "MTA spends significantly more per mile of new subway track than any other transit agency on the planet," state legislators implemented a law requiring the MTA to provide a comparison with other modern transit systems in major international cities. The rule is "meant to encourage transit leaders to make sure they are properly spending the public’s money" by assessing how their daily operating expenses compare to "national and international peer cities."

After delaying the report for a year last January, the MTA missed the January 2021 deadline for submitting the report as well. State Senator Leroy Comrie (D-Queens) admonished the agency, stating "laws are not passed to be treated as suggestions." Given the MTA's massive expenditures and "immense strain" caused by the pandemic, monitoring operational efficiencies is "more important than ever," says Colin Wright, an advocacy associate with TransitCenter.

The MTA says it is "in the process of finalizing the report" and that it expects to cut $601 million in costs during 2021, though a spokesperson did not provide details on how the cost savings will be achieved.

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Published on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 in New York Daily News
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