New Yorker on Ravitch-era capital plans

  • Date: June 25, 1984

  • Capital plan approved by NY state legislature, June 24, 1981

  • 1981 tax plan would come up $250mil short, so the legislature passed a 2-year corporate franchise tax in 1982 to make up the difference
    • This was after the long-lines tax on transportation companies was uncollectible
      • State is not allowed to tax interstate commerce, but they attempted to tax, say, a plane ticket from Albany to Washington's New York state component - also prohibited by federal law - which one?
  • Pullman had scandal involving cracked undercarriages on R46s
    • MTA won $72mil judgement from Pullman in December 1981
  • Kawasaki and Bombardier deal led to R62s and R62As
  • p65 - Cuomo wanted to reorganize MTA board after Bombardier deal - look for source
  • Fall 1981 - Metromedia lease
  • Dole's bill extended safe harbor leasing for transit to be delivered by 1987 (end of Bombardier bill)
  • Enactment of state law barring MTA from bankruptcy after comment from Robert Gerrard, managing director of Dillon Read
  • Congress passed measure giving MTA operating control of Harlem, Hudson, and New Haven commuter lines
    • Required $60mil transitional fund
  • First capital program increased from $7.2bil to $8.5bil after 1982 federal gas tax increase
  • Around time of Ravitch's resignation, Cuomo attempted to reorganize the board so that the chairman would not longer serve 6 year terms, but at the govenor's behest
    • isn't it still this way?
  • MTA sued Grumman Flexible due to faulty chassis on buses and had to repay federal money for purchase to the UMTA
  • 1983 NRDC report gave rare approval of MTA performance
  • New bus depot opened in 1984 in Sunset Park because new buses were too large to enter old one
  • After 12th derailment in 1983, red flags were put on track to signal 10mph sections
    • what is speed limit in today's restricted areas?
    • Subway track was supposed to receive two walking inspections a week
  • City's water table had risen 10 feet over previous 30 years, sitting tunnels on water rather than ground
  • Source: Lardner, James, "Painting the Elephant," The New Yorker, pp42-71, June 25, 1984. link
  • Tags: articles capital-plan mta ravitch

The Light at the End of the Subway

  • Date: February 1, 1982
  • Only 10 subway stations had ever been modernized (as of 1982)
  • Capital plan money couldn't be used by law for hiring additional police, but it could fund crime fighting indirectly through safer station design and CCTV
  • Staten Island Railroad (here called Staten Island Rapid Transit line) stations to be extended to support four-car trains from three)
  • Capital plan included $260mil to replace IRT and BMT power systems
    • Failures cause trains to stall or travel slowly when power is low
  • They refer to the capital plan as a "bailout"
  • "Fare-box revenues must, in the end, cover most of the principle and interest on the MTA bonds. Thus, depending on how high interest rates are when the bonds are sold, a fare hike may be necessary."
  • Ravitch says state reneged on a promise to pay the last installment on a fifteen-year-old Transportation Bond Issue, costing the MTA $90mil
    • I guess this was from 1967?
    • City's annual capital contribution also cut by Koch by $65mil (only a year after hiking it by $65mil)
  • $7.9bil capital plan breakdown
    • $3.6bil from new MTA bonds
    • $800mil from Triborough bonds
    • $800mil from new state bond package "guaranteed by the promise of 35 additional years of generous transit aid from Albany"
    • $1.3bil from federal aid
    • $500mil from state aid
    • $400mil from city aid
    • $400mil from "leaseback" <-- safe harbor leasing thingy
  • Ravitch says it's difficult to attract good workers when diesel mechanic working for the city gets paid 30% more than one working for the TA
  • Koch appointed Ross Sandler as the "new transit watchdog"
    • not sure what statute this resulted from
  • Source: nymag
  • Tags: articles capital-plan mta

"The Man at the Wheel of the M.T.A." - Ravitch in New York Magazine

  • Date: February 1, 1982
  • "A Nelson A. Rockefeller creation, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was set up in 1968 to coordinate public transit and insulate the mayor and governor from complaints about fare increases."
  • Under Ronan, fares rose from 20 cents to 35
  • David L. Yunich was appointed by Malcom Wilson to succeed Ronan, and oversaw fare increases from 35 cents to 50
  • Harold Fisher was appointed by Carey in 1977, saw no fare increases, but oversaw deferred maintenance programs
  • Source: nymag
  • Tags: articles mta ravitch

New York City Housing Crisis

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