The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has released its preliminary operating budget for 2024, the second of five years to have a projected balanced budget. The budget outlines $427 million in savings, exceeding the target of $400 million in savings as projected in the July Financial Plan. The MTA is ahead of schedule toward identifying $500 million in savings annually beginning in 2025.
The MTA has identified specific savings across all its agencies, delivering on its promise in the New York State Budget agreement of achieving $400 million savings in annual operating efficiencies. The savings include improving employee availability while reducing overtime costs by strategically managing assignments within compliance of timekeeping rules within New York City Transit. Identified efficiencies within Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad include collaborating to identify best industry practices in equipment shops and ensuring appropriate inventory availability for required maintenance. MTA’s Bridges and Tunnels reviewed staffing requirements, reducing vacancies.
“Gov. [Kathy] Hochul’s state budget stepped up for the MTA and – more importantly – for transit riders. One key element was an agreement the MTA implement $400 million in operating efficiencies and the 2023 November Financial Plan delivers – the cost savings surpass our 2024 goal and set us on a path to achieve $500 million in annual recurring savings by 2025,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “Fiscal stability allows us to continue to deliver frequent, reliable service while executing our historic capital program, including unprecedented investments in State of Good Repair work and ADA accessibility.”
“We’re continuing to show balanced budgets for five years thanks to Gov. Hochul and the state lLegislature providing stable long-term funding sources,” said MTA Chief Financial Officer Kevin Willens. “The MTA is doing its part by identifying and delivering on expense savings while continuing to provide service that encourages customers to rely on the transit system.”
MTA notes that while paid ridership on subways and commuter railroads continues to increase in accordance with the midpoint scenario as projected by the consulting firm McKinsey, paid bus ridership is now trending below the low case scenario. Crossings at MTA Bridges and Tunnels continues to track at or above pre-pandemic levels.
In July, the MTA Board approved a 5.5 percent toll increase and a four percent fare increase for 2023, which went into effect in August. The increases are projected to generate $117 million in 2023. The five-year plan assumes an additional four percent increase in both 2025 and in 2027.