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NYC's New Capital Commitment Plan: Mayor's Transport Policy Is Lost

by Daniel Convissor
September 29, 1994

[A version of this page using tables is available.]

The Giuliani Administration says budgetary constraints require a 50% cut in capital assistance for the MTA's subways and buses. This cut takes place while the administration proposes to increase the DOT program by 21% and the entire City capital program by 14%. This bias defies reality. New Yorkers depend on the mass transit, but the city would rather support the roadways. Below, I explain the problems with the Mayor's Capital Commitment Plan released yesterday and I generate two spending proposals to improve New York's mobility and economy.

These skewed priorities were planned by the Dinkins administration but Mayor Giuliani takes them to a new level, cutting an additional 18% from the MTA contribution but only 3% from the DOT

==============================================================================
|| Change Between Current and Prior Plans                                   ||
||                                                                          ||
||                                  MTA         DOT  Transport    Citywide  ||
|| Commitment Plan (Now)         $991 m.   $3,374 m.  $4,364 m.  $22,880 m. ||
|| Ten Year Plan (May)           $958 m.   $3,283 m.  $4,240 m.  $22,850 m. ||
|| -------------------------------------------------------------------------||
|| Change                         $33 m.      $91 m.    $124 m.      $30 m. ||
|| Percent of Change                  3%          3%         3%          0% ||
||                                                                          ||
||                                                                          ||
||                                  MTA         DOT  Transport    Citywide  ||
|| Commitment Plan (Now)         $991 m.   $3,374 m.  $4,364 m.  $22,880 m. ||
|| Commitment Plan (Sept. 93)  $1,207 m.   $3,467 m.  $4,674 m.  $26,126 m. ||
|| -------------------------------------------------------------------------||
|| Change                       ($216 m.)    ($93 m.)  ($309 m.) ($3,246 m.)||
|| Percent of Change                (18%)        (3%)       (7%)       (12%)||
==============================================================================

The City wants to pitch in $991 million for the MTA's Third Capital Program, 15% of the Transit Authority's commitments, less than half of the 34% they gave for the Second Program. In addition, this is $697 million (41%) short of the MTA's request.
==================================================
|| The Mayor v. The MTA                         ||
||                                 Variance     ||
|| Giuliani Proposal     $991 m.       59%      ||
|| MTA Request         $1,688 m.      100%      ||
|| -------------------------------------------- ||
|| Difference           ($697 m.)     (41%)     ||
==================================================

Transit accounts for 61% of all trips within NYC, but the administration only wants to give the MTA 23% of the City's transportation dollars, far below the usual share (compare the Third Capital Program Period" and "Past Capital Commitments" boxes).
=======================================
|| Past Capital Commitments          ||
||                                   ||  
|| First Capital Program Period      || 
|| MTA                $717 m.    31% ||
|| DOT              $1,602 m.    69% ||
|| --------------------------------- ||
|| Transportation   $2,319 m.   100% ||
||                                   ||
||                                   ||
|| Second Capital Program Period     || 
|| MTA              $1,997 m.    42% ||
|| DOT              $2,795 m.    58% ||
|| --------------------------------- ||
|| Transportation   $4,792 m.   100% ||
=======================================

==========================================
|| Third Capital Program Period         ||
||                                      ||
|| Administration's Proposal            ||
|| The Giuliani Commitment Plan         ||
|| MTA                $991 m.    23%    ||
|| DOT              $3,374 m.    77%    ||
|| ---------------------------------    ||
|| Transportation   $4,364 m.   100%    ||
||                                      ||
||                                      ||
|| Proposal One                         ||
|| Meeting MTA Request                  ||
|| MTA              $1,688 m.    39%    ||
|| DOT              $2,676 m.    61%    ||
|| ---------------------------------    ||
|| Transportation   $4,364 m.   100%    ||
||                                      ||
||                                      ||
|| Proposal Two                         ||
|| Equally Dividing Transport Spending  || 
|| MTA              $2,182 m.    50%    ||
|| DOT              $2,182 m.    50%    ||
|| ---------------------------------    ||
|| Transportation   $4,364 m.   100%    ||
==========================================

This budget proposal puts transit spending at an all time low. The MTA will only account for 4% of the City's capital commitments, though historically it received twice that. DOT commitments will remain around 15%. Considering railroad investments generate returns twice as large as highway investments and accrue positive results three times faster, underinvesting in transit is likely to have grave consequences.

[BAR GRAPH: This is a graph of the data in the next table.  If you are unable to see it, click here.]

==========================================================================
|| MTA, DOT & Transport as Portion of City's Commitments                ||
||                                                                      ||
|| 1st Capital Prog. Period        MTA        DOT  Transport   Citywide ||
|| Commitments for Agency       $717 m.  $1,602 m.  $2,319 m.  $9,580 m.||
|| Percent of Commitments           7%         17%        24%       100%||
||                                                                      ||
|| ******************************************************************** ||
||                                                                      ||
|| 2nd Capital Prog. Period        MTA        DOT  Transport   Citywide ||
|| Commitments for Agency     $1,997 m.  $2,795 m.  $4,792 m. $20,097 m.||
|| Percent of Commitments           10%        14%        24%       100%||
||                                                                      ||
|| ******************************************************************** ||
||                                                                      ||
|| 3rd Period (Giuliani Plan)      MTA        DOT  Transport   Citywide ||
|| Commitments for Agency       $991 m.  $3,374 m.  $4,364 m. $22,880 m.||
|| Percent of Commitments            4%        15%        19%       100%||
||                                                                      ||
|| 3rd Period (MTA Request)        MTA        DOT  Transport   Citywide ||
|| Commitments for Agency     $1,688 m.  $2,676 m.  $4,364 m. $22,880 m.||
|| Percent of Commitments            7%        12%        19%       100%||
||                                                                      ||
|| 3rd Period (Equal Div.)         MTA        DOT  Transport   Citywide ||
|| Commitments for Agency     $2,182 m.  $2,182 m.  $4,364 m. $22,880 m.||
|| Percent of Commitments           10%       10%         19%       100%||
==========================================================================
I put forth the following two proposals to stimulate informed discussion and action. These proposals spend the same amount on transportation as the Commitment Plan, but divide it between the DOT and MTA in a different manner. Proposal One meets the MTA's $1,688 million request for their Third Capital Program and gives the remainder to the DOT. The MTA's request is a reasonable one, asking for a 15% reduction while the DOT is cut only 4%. Proposal Two equally divides the transportation pie, yielding a 9% increase for the MTA but a 22% cut in DOT commitments.
==========================================================
|| Change Between Capital Periods                       ||
||                                                      ||
||                                  MTA         DOT     ||
|| Second                      $1,997 m.   $2,795 m.    ||
|| Third (Commitment Plan)       $991 m.   $3,374 m.    ||
|| --------------------------------------------------   ||
|| Change                     ($1,006 m.)    $578 m.    ||
||                                  (50%)        21%    ||
||                                                      || 
||                                                      ||
||                                  MTA         DOT     ||
|| Second                      $1,997 m.   $2,795 m.    ||
|| Third (MTA Request)         $1,688 m.   $2,676 m.    ||
|| --------------------------------------------------   ||
|| Change                      ($309 m.)    ($119 m.)   ||
||                                 (15%)         (4%)   ||
||                                                      ||
||                                                      ||
||                                 MTA          DOT     ||
|| Second                     $1,997 m.    $2,795 m.    ||
|| Third (Equal Division)     $2,182 m.    $2,182 m.    ||
|| --------------------------------------------------   ||
|| Change                       $185 m.     ($613 m.)   ||
||                                   9%         (22%)   ||
||                                                      ||
||                                                      ||
|| *******************************************          ||
|| * All Projects in City Capital Program    *          ||
|| * Second                     $20,097 m.   *          ||
|| * Third (Commitment Plan)    $22,880 m.   *          ||
|| * -------------------------------------   *          ||
|| * Change                      $2,783 m.   *          ||
|| *                                   14%   *          ||
|| *******************************************          ||
==========================================================


 


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Last updated: 7 April 1999