NEW YORK (PIX11) — Straphangers may be returning to the subways, but not fast enough to alleviate the MTA’s financial worries.
That’s according to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who warns the MTA “continues to plan to use borrowing techniques that push difficult financial decisions into the future.” Without new sources of revenue, DiNapoli said the MTA could be forced to cut service, delay projects or even hike up fares for riders.
“The MTA’s finances are stable this year, but just around the corner it faces growing budget gaps with no solution to close them yet,” DiNapoli said in a report. “The MTA should not kick the can down the road. Its plans to issue debt to pay for operating costs and put off paying down its debt for capital projects may save money in the short-term, but those bills will eventually come due for future riders and taxpayers.”
Currently, the MTA is relying on more than $14 billion in one-time federal aid to balance its budgets through 2025. But by 2026, it faces a budget gap of over $2 billion and could have to borrow more to pay for operating costs, DiNapoli wrote.
The amount of outstanding long-term debt issued by the MTA increased from $25.8 billion in 2010 to $40.1 billion in 2021, according to the report. The transit authority plans to use 20% of its revenue through 2025 to pay off that debt.
The MTA is also hoping that future ridership will ease its debt issues in the future. However, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and increased safety concerns, DeNapoli said that ridership is “far from certain.”