French-American company awarded car contract, MTA floats first bonds

  • New cars ordered: R68s
    • New cars would have flat stainless steel exteriors to be easy to clean graffiti off of
    • Order was $210mil, or $933k per sar
      • Previous orders from Canadian and Japanese companies were $800k per car, but for smaller cars (IRT)
    • Final assembly performed at Brooklyn Army Terminal
    • Westinghouse-Amrail is a joint venture of Westinghouse of Pittsburgh and Francorail
  • NYCTA completed sale of first revenue-backed bonds
    • To be used for capital program, including the subway cars ordered
    • Sold $250mil of bonds at annual rate of 9.7%
    • Prevoius car orders from Bombardier and Kawasaki included financing from Canadian and Japanese governments because MTA did not believe they could raise money through bond market at favorable rates
    • Bonds were rated BBB+ from S&P
    • Ravitch was hoping for 14%, elated to get 9.7%
    • "The $250 million issue is the first of $1.6 billion in revenue bonds the M.T.A. plans to float. Over the 30-year life of the bonds, the debt service is expected to add less than 20 cents to the fare, Mr. Ravitch said. However, he added, if ridership or government subsidies increase, the impact on the fare could be lower."
  • Source: Ari Goldman, "FRENCH-U.S. CONCERN GRANTED M.T.A. PACT FOR 225 SUBWAY CARS," The New York Times, October 15, 1982. link
  • Tags: bonds mta ravitch

Ravitch named MTA chairman

  • Source: Leslie Maitland, "Carey Asks Richard Ravitch to Be Head of the M.T.A.," The New York Times, October 12, 1979. link
  • Tags: chairmen mta ravitch

Program Planners Study on Federal Operating Assistance

  • NYCTA received 7.5% of operating budget from federal aid ($127mil of $1.7bil) versus 17.6% for LA [1]
    • Study by Program Planners Inc and Jack Bigel (yes, the one from union talks)
    • Reagan was proposing ending federal operating assistance for mass transit in 1985
    • Studied cities with 1000 or more revenue vehicles
      • LA, Philadephia, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, San Francisco, NY
    • Federal operating assistance formula revised in 1978 to give weight to cities with greater than 750k people and rail systems
    • Federal operating assistance totaled $1.0939bil in 1980, 30.2% of government aid
      • State assistance was $820.4mil, local assistance was $1.7039bil
    • Ravitch says fares cover 55% of MTA's $2.5bil operating budget (all modes)
      • Local and state subsidies cover 37%
      • Local taxes, which have increases with lowering of federal assistance, are "much less progressive than the Federal income tax"
    • New York's fare was 75 cents at the time
  • Source: Peter Kihss, "CITY SAID TO TRAIL IN U.S. TRANSIT AID," The New York Times, June 6, 1982. link
  • Tags: bigel city-assistance federal-assistance mta ravitch report state-assistance

Fare increases from 60 cents to 75 cents

  • Approved by the MTA on July 2nd, took effect on July 3rd
  • Continued to use 60 cent token
  • A two-step increase was approved: fare would increase again to $1 in two weeks(!) if no additional state aid was provided
  • Without second increase or addition state aid, NYC Transit Authority would still face annual defecit of $240mil
  • Source: Judith Cummings, "City's Fare Rises to 75 cents and Rails Increase by 25%," The New York Times, July 3, 1981. link
  • Tags: fare-increases mta ravitch

Fare increases from 50 cents to 60 cents

  • Date: June 28, 1980
  • Carey refused to rule out another increase
  • MNR referred to as "Conrail's commuter lines north of the city"
  • Sidney Schwartz, New York state's special fiscal monitor for the city, warned that fares may have to rise to 75 cents in 1981 unless "the financially troubled Transit Authority gets more aid and improves its management."
  • "Long Lines Expected" on Monday morning - MetroCard would eliminate this aspect of fare increases
    • Expected the morning rush to continue through 10 A.M., rather than the usual 9 A.M.
  • Ravitch, in April 1980, expected rise would need to be 75 cents [3]
  • Fiscal experts said 50-cent fare could be held with new tax on gross receipts by oil companies (yielding $150mil annually) and a surcharge on the gas tax (yielding $20mil annually) [4]
    • MTA budget showed $398mil deficit for fiscal year April 1, 1980 to March 31, 1981
    • Package expected to be supported by suburban voters because of minimal impact on them, including no commuter rail fare increases
    • 10-cent fare increase expected to provide $100mil increase in revenues
      • wonder what this is like today
    • Also necessary to hold 50-cent fare:
      • 25-cent toll increase to give $30mil to Transit Authority (today NYCT) and $30mil to commuter railroads
      • $56mil increase in subsidy from the city, from current $304.6mil
      • Additional $40mil "found" state budget through accounting differences
    • Strike increased 1979 deficit by $18.1mil and 1980 deficit by $92.7mil
      • $39.6mil gained penalties against strikers for violating state's Taylor Law
      • $26mil in lost fare revenues during the strike
      • $109.1mil lost in additional wages over 2 years
      • $19mil in additonal benefits payments
    • Productivity gains from new agreement with TWU estimated $15mil savings due to "addition of 20 minutes of productive work time"
      • assuming this means less overtime pay
  • Source: "Transit Officials Brace for Rush on Tokens," The New York Times, June 30, 1980. link
  • Source: "Ravitch Predicts 75 Transit Fare If Legislature Doesn't Act By July," The New York Times, April 21, 1980. link
  • Source: David A. Andelman, "$170 Million in New Taxes Called the Key to 50 Fare," The New York Times, April 26, 1980. link
  • Source: "Old and New Commuter Fares in New York Area," The New York Times, June 30, 1980. link
  • Tags: carey fare-increases mta ravitch transit-strike-1980

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

Ravitch Commission

  • Date: December 4, 2008
  • Ravitch Commission unveils report on suggestions to close $1.2 billion deficit for 2009, after real estate transfer taxes and NYS corporate surcharge tax revenues dropped during the recession and Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan failed in the state legislature
  • Source: pcac
  • Source: "Ravitch Unveils M.T.A. Rescue Plan," The New York Times, December 4, 2008. link
  • Tags: mta ravitch ravitch-commission

Reagan Administration says MTA violated international trade agreements

  • Date: May 28, 1982
  • Canadian Export Development Corporation agreed to lend the MTA $563mil (85% of $662mil car purchase price) at 9.7% for 15 years
    • OECD minimum rate at the time was 11.25% for terms of length 5-8.5 years
  • Source: "U.S. SEES VIOLATION OF TRADE ACCORDS IN M.T.A. PROPOSAL," The New York Times, May 29, 1982. link
  • Tags: mta ravitch

Bob Dole denounces $100mil MTA leasing deal

  • Date: April 9, 1982
  • Source: "DOLE SEES 'HORROR STORY' IN M.T.A. LEASING DEAL," The New York Times, April 9, 1982. link
  • Tags: mta ravitch

"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

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