At the end of last week, while the UN adopted a Syrian disarmament plan, the government shutdown was becoming more certain, and millions finally got around to looking at the Affordable Care Act website, NY state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found a $2 billion surplus hanging out in the MTA’s ledgers. Ok, technically it was only $1.9 billion. But, still!
DiNapoli told CBS News last week that the “unanticipated funds” were a result of “lower pension contributions, energy costs, debt service, health insurance costs and higher tax revenues.” Another nifty piece of information from CBS: “The audit also found tolls have risen faster than inflation over the past six years.” DiNapoli urged the MTA to “reconsider” the planned fare hike structure that is set to raise fees again in 2015 and 2017, though the MTA hasn’t yet publicly addressed DiNapoli’s findings, or whether or not that they will move forward with the fare hikes. To remind you: it’s supposed to be $3.00 a ride by 2017. Also, this isn’t the first time that the Comptroller has found money in the MTA’s books. In 2003, former state Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi claimed that the MTA hid $500 million in funds to justify fare hikes to $2. Oh, memories.
So, for now, the MTA is apparently keeping the fare hikes in place, while the L is still totally fucked and are apparently moving ahead with underground cell service and WiFi. Even if you’d love to finally be able to Instagram that shark in real time, or never lose a step from meeting to meeting, wouldn’t you be a little pissed if they used that $2 billion to install WiFi but still made you pay $3.00 a ride? I certainly would. While the MTA seems to be in better financial standing than we’d thought, they’re still totally fucked. Except when they save the kittens.
Follow Ryan Chang on Twitter @avantbored.