27 Feb 2015 01:54 PM EST
-by Yuliya Geikhman, Staff Writer; Image: An entrance to the NYC Subway (Image Source: m01229 on Flickr / CC BY 2.0)
Despite frequent fare hikes and a proposed plan that, if implemented, will generate some extra revenue, the MTA is struggling.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is still trying to secure funding for nearly half of its proposed $32 billion budget, and it’s the commuters who will feel the effects of this deficit.
The proposed budget comes from the MTA's five year plan, which aims to improve service, upgrade systems, and make critical repairs. Trains and busses need an upgrade, as does the outdated signaling system. Miles of tracks need to be replaced and tunnel lighting repaired.
And that's not taking into account the number of expansion projects the MTA had in the works. If the agency can't raise the rest of its budget a year and a half from now, it may have to cancel long-awaited projects like the connection of the Long Island Rail Road and Grand Terminal, or the Second Avenue line.
"A year or two, we're OK," said MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast, as reported on ABC News. "But as you start to get down that path, we get to the point where we don't have that money, we can't award design contracts, we can't award construction projects."
Despite the struggles, the MTA is confident that the city will find a way to fund the remaining $15 billion, one way or another. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the MTA is "bloated" and will probably need some cuts to achieve its funding. Other experts state that the budget is actually on the low end considering how much repair work needs to be done.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is also critical of the MTA’s situation.
"We cannot ask riders alone to sustain the system with fare increases," de Blasio has said, stating that the plan is "woefully underfunded."
Pendergast is confident that the money will come through, somehow.
"New York gets the money it needs to get the MTA to keep running," he said.
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