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Old April 1st, 2009, 08:33 AM   #961
Brice
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No token anymore.


Interesting article
http://thetransportpolitic.com/2009/...sit-financing/

How to Fix Transit Financing

4 March 2009

Moving transit funding towards a sustainable source - in and out of economic downturns

The budget crisis affecting American public transportation agencies - a result, principally, of a decline in tax revenue - confirms the need for both a more stable source of income and tighter control over expenses. In this post, I’ll take New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority as an example, and compare it to a significant foreign peer - Paris’ RATP, which runs the city’s métro and buses. In the process, I hope to give some explanations for the crisis in which many U.S. transit agencies find themselves, and provide some structural remedies for the problem.

The MTA is facing a $1.2 billion shortfall, which depending on the outcome of the deal I discussed yesterday, may or may not be reduced to a $750 million shortfall. This deficit comes at a time of record subway ridership and is therefore not the result of declining fare receipts but rather the result of fewer tax revenues than the agency had expected when preparing its budget in previous years. About 3/10 of the agency’s total revenue for its operating budget comes from dedicated taxes or fees, with the other 7/10 the product of fares, tolls on MTA bridges, and local and state subsidies.

Half of the taxes that fund the MTA come from New York State’s Metropolitan Mass Transportation Operating Assistance Program (MMTOA). In this year’s budget (PDF), the agency expects revenue from MMTOA to decline from $1.7 billion in 2008 to $1.4 billion in 2009, though both numbers are way up from the $982 million recorded in 2005. MMTOA funds come from a 1/4¢ sales tax, a corporate tax surcharge levied in the New York metro region, and a petroleum and transportation industries tax.

MMTOA represents the bulk of MTA revenue and the biggest explanation for why its balance sheets are so far in the red, but the MTA will also lose revenue this year from the Urban Tax (from $557 million in 2005 to $500 million in 2009) - a fee on real estate transactions - and the Mortgage Recording Tax (from $745 million to $380 million), a fee recorded on mortgages made in the city.

Other components of MTA revenue have remained relatively flat over the same time period. State and local operating assistance, which provides a total of about $400 million each year to the agency, remains the same; meanwhile, receipts from the Petroleum Business Tax, a part of MMTOA, have inched up from $561 million in 2005 to $626 million in 2009. Revenues from tickets have increased from $3.6 billion to $4.2 billion with a fare increase; toll revenue from bridges and tunnels, transferred to mass transit as a subsidy, has increased from $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion in the same period.

Thus, MTA’s overall budget has been able to rely on stable funds from fares, toll collection, and the tax levied on gas-based businesses. On the other hand, revenue from sales taxes, corporations, real estate transaction taxes, and mortgage fees have fluctuated wildly in recent years with the rise of the real estate boom and now its quick fall. Relying on tax revenue that changes with the state of the economy makes managing the transit system difficult. Transit agencies need to provide similar services every year, no matter whether the economy is up or down. If the MTA is to establish a stable funding program, it must be able to rely on a stable source of revenue.

Let’s compare the MTA’s revenues and expenses with those of a foreign peer that does not face similar fiscal difficulties - Paris’ RATP, which remains in the black, even during this economic crisis. RATP runs the city’s métro, tramways, and buses, as well as some of its RER regional express trains. It is funded by a regional organization run by elected leaders throughout the Paris region called Stif that collects tax revenue and government subsides for the entire region; in 2008, its total budget was 7.5 billion euros, making it equivalent in size to the $10 billion MTA. Most of Stif’s funds are distributed to RATP, though some are given to SNCF, the national train company, as well as to a few private bus operators in the city’s suburbs. The chart below compares the RATP’s expenses with those of the MTA, and Stif’s revenue with that of the MTA.



The chart demonstrates that both Paris and New York get about 2/5 of total revenue for running transit services from fares. But while New York’s system relies on income generated from tolling the city’s bridges and tunnels for a large percentage of total revenue, Paris relies much more on local taxes and government subsidies, which contribute about 3/5 of total funds, versus only about 4/9 of the MTA’s.

I won’t be discussing expenses much in this post, but the chart demonstrates that MTA is overloaded with payroll expenses as compared to RATP, suggesting either that MTA pays its employees too much (especially in overtime), or that it has too many workers. RATP’s spending is more evenly distributed, and lower in cost per passenger mile provided. I’ll let others come to conclusions about how MTA can reduce operating expenses.

The real question for us, then, is how Paris’ Stif is able to maintain fiscal balance: how is it funded, and why does its system work more efficiently than that of the MTA?

About 2/5 of Paris’ transport funding comes from the versement transport, a tax collected on salaries in the Paris region. The fees are highest - at 2.6% - in Paris and the neighboring rich département (similar to a county) Hauts-de-Seine; they’re lower, at 1.7%, in two poorer neighboring départements, Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-de-Marne. In the four départements on the edge of the region, the rate is 1.4%. Having the tax rate vary by location, with people who are more likely to be able to take advantage of public transportation paying more, makes a lot of sense. The region’s decision to tax the poorer départements bordering Paris at a lower rate also serves as a social equalizer, attempting to encourage investment in less-well-off areas.

The versement transport was first instituted in the full Paris region in 1991, and the amount charged on salaries has risen four times sense. The tax only applies to people working for companies with more than nine employees; it is designed to give a break to small shops and enterprises.

One-seventh of total Stif funds in 2008 came from government subsidies, far higher than the 1/12 of funds the MTA is likely to receive for its 2009 budget. 51% of Stif’s funds come from the regional body, 30% from the city of Paris, 7.7% from the Hauts-de-Seine département, and less than 3% from each of the other départements. The national government also contributes some funding, especially for subsidies for transportation for the poor and the young.

So, on the surface level, Stif appears to be funded much like the MTA, with funds coming from dedicated taxes and from government subsidies. There are two important differences, however: one, revenue from the taxes that pay for transportation in Paris are less likely to vary significantly during economic downturns; two, the government subsidies are designed to compensate when tax revenue falls short.

MTA’s reliance on sales and real estate transfer taxes puts it at a great risk of loosing expected funds, because consumption of consumer products (sales tax) and of property (urban tax) decreases dramatically during recessions; so do the balance sheets of corporations, which the MTA also taxes. On the other hand, taxes on income do not see changes that are nearly as significant, especially in France, where firing people is incredibly difficult. As a result, Stif can be confident that it will continue to receive funding from taxes, even during bad economic periods.

Just in case, however, government contributions are designed to make up for tax shortfalls. As the chart below demonstrates, the government subsidy to Stif remained at around $1 billion Euros between 1990 and 2004, while funding from the versement transports increased from a little above $1 billion Euros in 1990 to $2.5 billion in 2004 (data from Stif). This increase was due to inflation and also because of the increase in charges on income over the years - the government has made a priority to focus revenues for transportation on salaries, rather than from general revenues. The stable increase in income generated from this tax, even during the early 1990s recession, is demonstrated below.

Though salaries in the Paris region have not hit a serious downfall since the versement transports was instituted, local governments are mandated to increase subsidies if needed. If the transit agencies in the Paris region, such as RATP, need to increase service to provide for demand but tax revenue can’t keep up, the regional body and the governments of the city of Paris and the départements are required by national law to make up the deficit.



Paris’ system for transit financing provides an instructive look into how American public transportation systems could go about finding more efficient and stable sources of revenue. As we have seen in recent months, the sales tax revenues most agencies rely upon have collapsed in the past year, and the result, all over the nation, are service cuts and increased fares. Those aren’t solutions when more than ever we need transit service to provide the alternative mobility the American people need.

Therefore, a funding system with a stable tax base that is not as likely to fluctuate with economic problems is a necessity. In addition, government entities at the local and state levels must make a financial commitment to ensure the continued funding of transit agencies, even when recessions hit. Making an effort to incorporate the fiscal advantages of the French system detailed above will bolster the health of our own transportation networks.
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Old April 1st, 2009, 11:06 AM   #962
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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted this morning to institute a series of fare hikes and service cuts throughout the subway, bus, Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road systems, which will be phased in between May and July.

casas rurlaes en cadiz |casas rurales en teruel |casas rurales en sevilla |casas rurales en barcelona
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Old April 1st, 2009, 01:20 PM   #963
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The state has halted a program to create an artificial fishing reef off Atlantic City by sinking old New York City subway cars underwater. State officials say an initial batch of about 100 cars that have been sunk so far are showing “unusual damage.” Divers from the NJ Marine Fisheries Administration have observed significant damage to several of the 35,000-pound, stainless steel cars which were supposed to maintain 90 percent of their structural integrity after 30 years. Some have apparently collapsed, despite being in the water less than a year.

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Old April 1st, 2009, 05:48 PM   #964
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NY lawmakers consider taxi fee in MTA bailout bid
1 April 2009

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A state official says Gov. David Paterson and state legislative leaders are considering adding a fee to taxi rides as a possible way to help bail out New York City's troubled mass transit system.

The state official familiar with the talks spoke on the condition of anonymity because the measure isn't final and wasn't authorized by the leaders for release.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance calls the idea unfair, punitive and a sign of how out of touch Albany is with New York City's transit problem. Executive Director Bhairavi Desai (BAR'-ah-vee deh-SAY') says a fee placed on taxi rides to fund the MTA would be a cut in pay for drivers and working New Yorkers.

The Senate's Democratic majority has rejected tolls on some city bridges as a revenue source.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 05:02 AM   #965
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
The subway is a charity?
No more than the military. Both provide a public service and should be funded with tax dollars.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 08:19 PM   #966
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How do these prices compare to the PATH trains?
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 09:34 PM   #967
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The PATH is $1.75. But once you get to NYC there is no free transfers to the MTA.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 07:04 PM   #968
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NY court calls bent subway cards forgery
30 April 2009

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York's top court says deliberately bending city subway swipe cards to fool scanning machines for a free ride can be prosecuted as felony forgery.

The Court of Appeals upheld Jonathan Mattocks' conviction and 2-year prison term. He previously faced misdemeanors and said then that he expected to get only three months in jail at worst.

New York City's pay-per-ride MetroCards have two magnetic fields that record their purchase value, with $2 deducted when swiped at turnstiles. With the primary field damaged, the secondary field leaves a $2 value, giving the passenger the benefit of the doubt for one more ride.

Some riders crease the primary field on depleted cards to get a free ride or sell them. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority estimates that happens 8 million times a year.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 11:12 PM   #969
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
NY court calls bent subway cards forgery
30 April 2009

Some riders crease the primary field on depleted cards to get a free ride or sell them. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority estimates that happens 8 million times a year.
Which is why the MTA needs to adopt a smartcard fare system. Unfortunately, with the ever-increasing budget deficit, the MTA delayed the availability of this system by another 3 years (beyond 2013 I believe).
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Old May 1st, 2009, 01:15 AM   #970
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i like how the media told everyone how exactly to do this.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 06:23 PM   #971
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i like how the media told everyone how exactly to do this.
Well, now that people know it's illegal...maybe they won't be as tempted to do it.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 10:21 AM   #972
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Legislature passes NYC transit system bailout
6 May 2009

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The State Legislature has approved a bailout of New York City's mass transit system, limiting subway and bus fare increases to only a quarter.

The $2.26 billion package allows the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to hike fares by about 10 percent to $2.25 a ride rather than the 23 to 30 percent the agency had threatened to help cover massive deficits.

The bailout also softens the monthly pass increase to only $89, up from $81, and adds a 50 cent charge for taxi rides, among other fees. The plan includes a payroll tax on businesses, but no new tolls.

The bills were passed just over 24 hours after a closed-door deal among Democratic leaders because Gov. David Paterson suspended the usual three-day "aging" period designed to give lawmakers and the public time to review proposed legislation.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 10:23 AM   #973
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NY commuters, businesses unimpressed with Albany's last-minute deal to rescue mass transit
6 May 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Commuters, cab drivers and transit advocates said Wednesday they were unimpressed and disgusted with a proposed financial bailout deal for the nation's largest mass transit system, even though many expressed relief that the base subway fare would only increase by 25 cents.

"It's something you have to adapt to, you know what I'm saying? An apple doesn't cost a nickel anymore," said Larry Taylor, 53, who commutes by subway from the Bronx, as he stood at a table on a street near Penn Station selling DVDs.

Under the tentative deal, fares would rise about 10 percent, not the 20 to 30 percent that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had threatened along with massive service cuts in its so-called "doomsday budget." Fares would rise again in 2011 and 2013.

"I'm happy to pay a 10 percent fare increase if we get 10 percent better service," said Dwight Tjornham (CHURN'-home), of Mount Vernon, a butler at a private residence who was waiting for a Metro-North train on Wednesday at the White Plains station. He noted that his train was 3 minutes late.

"I don't suppose they'll take 3 minutes' worth off the fare," he said.

The proposed bailout, which the Legislature is expected to vote on Wednesday, would include new payroll taxes for businesses and a per-ride charge of 50 cents for taxis.

Most of the money would go toward the MTA's debilitating debt -- the agency has a $1.2 billion deficit, largely due to the economic downturn. About $400 million would be directed toward capital improvements, such as maintenance and upgrades to the subway system.

Ellyn Shannon, a transportation planner for the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, which was created by the Legislature to make sure riders were involved in the agency's decisions, was unimpressed with the plan.

"The new fares are very high and there's still huge concern about what got passed because there's not enough for the capital budget," she said.

Peter Haynes, president of the Long Island Rail Road Commuters Campaign, said that the plan doesn't really fix the agency's problems.

"We have had several fare increases in recent years, and now they're giving us one every other year, which will add up to the same big increase they were talking about all along, which is unreasonably high," he said.

He said the plan doesn't address the agency's long-term viability. "It's not a rescue, it's a Band-Aid," he said.

Bill Mooney, the president of the Westchester County Association, a business advocacy group, criticized the possible payroll tax on employers.

"At the end of the day, the state's solution to everything is taxes. No one ever overhauls themselves," he said. "What concessions have the MTA made with their own compensation, with unions, overhauling their own operations? That's what business has had to do for the last year."

But Shannon, the transportation planner, said payroll tax is necessary. "Public transit benefits business. It saves time and gets people to work efficiently and in a reliable way, which is what business needs," she said.

Cab drivers also said they were opposed to the surcharge on rides.

"I don't like it," said driver Mostaff Hamza, before picking up a customer at Penn Station. "It's more expensive for the customer."

Tarlok Singh, a cab driver for 9 years, said that the charge would just add to cab drivers' expenses. "They are just exploiting the drivers."

MTA officials have said its fiscal woes stem from declining ridership and a steep drop in revenue from taxes on real estate transactions.

----

Associated Press writer Jim Fitzgerald contributed from White Plains, N.Y.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 01:25 PM   #974
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MTA Board to vote on fare reduction after Legislature okays bailout
10 May 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has an unusual meeting on Monday.

The board is holding a vote on reducing the package of fare and toll increases approved in March. That vote comes after the state Legislature approved a $2.26 billion bailout of the city's mass transit system.

The bailout package allows the MTA to hike fares by only about 10 percent, from $2 a ride to $2.25.

The bailout also softens the increase on the cost of a monthly fare pass, from $81 to $89, and adds a 50-cent charge for taxi rides, among other fees.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 10:59 PM   #975
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
MTA Board to vote on fare reduction after Legislature okays bailout
10 May 2009

Lesser fare hike set for June 28th
By Benjamin Kabak

Earlier this morning, the MTA Board approved a series of measures designed to rollback their Doomsday plan. Service to the public will not be cut, and while the station agents may be slashed, the fare hikes have been rolled back as well. Instead of a 25-30 percent hike, fares will go up by around 10 percent. The new fares are scheduled to go into effect on June 28.

“Today we implemented a bittersweet solution that comes with additional pain for our customers, our employees and those who live and work in our region,” said H. Dale Hemmerdinger, Chairman of the MTA Board. “But it will – at least for the short term – prevent the Armageddon that loomed large when we last met.”

“The fare and toll increase passed today is not ideal, but it spares our customers from actions that would have been extraordinarily painful,” said Elliot G. Sander, MTA Executive Director and CEO. “Implementing severe fare increases and deep service cuts directly contradicts the MTA’s mission and my goals as CEO. It is a great relief to know we will be able to continue providing the service our customers expect at an affordable price.”

The fare structure is as follows:

Fare Type Current New Change
Base Fare $2.00 $2.25 12.5 %
Bonus and Buy-In 15 % at $7.00 ($1.74) 15 % at $8.00 ($1.96) 12.5 %
1-Day Pass $7.50 $8.25 10 %
7-Day Pass $25.00 $27.00 8 %
14-Day Pass $47.00 $51.50 9.6 %
30-Day Pass $81.00 $89.00 9.9 %

Source: http://secondavenuesagas.com/2009/05...for-june-28th/
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 04:19 PM   #976
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Long-shuttered NYC subway platform has a new use
20 June 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - An abandoned subway station featured in the movie "Ghost" is back in service -- as a storage area for equipment being used to extend another subway line.

The shuttered platform lies under the A, C and E line tracks at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. It once served special trains to Aqueduct Racetrack but has been abandoned for decades.

Now it's holding jackhammers, steel beams and other equipment for extending the No. 7 subway line. The project is expected to take until 2013.

Patrick Swayze's character in "Ghost" learns to use his otherwordly powers to move objects in the abandoned station. The 1990 movie co-starred Demi Moore.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 07:06 PM   #977
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NYC transit seat hogs could face jail time
18 June 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Rudeness could land New York City transit riders in jail.

A new campaign reminds subway and bus riders to give up reserved seats to the elderly or disabled.

Those who refuse could be fined $25 to $50 -- or even face up to 10 days in jail.

Signs are going up this week in thousands of subway cars and buses. The law has long been on the books; transit officials are now trying to get people to obey it.

Evelyn Quinones of the Bronx, who uses a walker, says people used to have better manners.

Says the 77-year old: "The world has changed."

Quinones thinks the new warnings might get the seat hogs' attention.

------

Information from: New York Post
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Old June 24th, 2009, 07:08 PM   #978
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
NYC transit seat hogs could face jail time
18 June 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Rudeness could land New York City transit riders in jail.

A new campaign reminds subway and bus riders to give up reserved seats to the elderly or disabled.

Those who refuse could be fined $25 to $50 -- or even face up to 10 days in jail.

Signs are going up this week in thousands of subway cars and buses. The law has long been on the books; transit officials are now trying to get people to obey it.

Evelyn Quinones of the Bronx, who uses a walker, says people used to have better manners.

Says the 77-year old: "The world has changed."

Quinones thinks the new warnings might get the seat hogs' attention.

------

Information from: New York Post
This is going to be interesting indeed. NYC transit system and these rules, as completely justified as they are, I hardly see how it will be implemented.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 02:29 AM   #979
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Long-shuttered NYC subway platform has a new use
20 June 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - An abandoned subway station featured in the movie "Ghost" is back in service -- as a storage area for equipment being used to extend another subway line.

The shuttered platform lies under the A, C and E line tracks at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. It once served special trains to Aqueduct Racetrack but has been abandoned for decades.

Now it's holding jackhammers, steel beams and other equipment for extending the No. 7 subway line. The project is expected to take until 2013.

Patrick Swayze's character in "Ghost" learns to use his otherwordly powers to move objects in the abandoned station. The 1990 movie co-starred Demi Moore.
According to Environmental Graffiti, the station was constructed by the IND subway company to block expansion of the IRT's 7 Line.
http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com...k-subway/10924
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Old June 25th, 2009, 04:25 AM   #980
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herenthere View Post
According to Environmental Graffiti, the station was constructed by the IND subway company to block expansion of the IRT's 7 Line.
http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com...k-subway/10924
Ironically, they are using that platform as storage for the extension of the 7.
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