Telling us what most any subway rider suspected, City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. issued a review of the MTA's "State of Good Repair" capital expenditures and found that the MTA isn't very committed to making sure subway and bus service is in a "State of Good Repair." For instance, the MTA is 10-15 years behind making NYC Transit assets reach a State of Good Repair: 40% of lettered lines have 70 year old signals, which cause delays; many fan plants that are supposed to take out smoke in case of a fire won't be in Good Repair until 2028 (they were supposed to be fixed this year); and there is still lighting from the 1930s in some subway tunnels.


Comptroller Thompson charged that NYC Transit is being shortchanged as LIRR and Metro-North service gets a disproportionate amount of funding. The LIRR and Metro-North are in Good Repair, mainly because they get a lot more money, relative to the number of riders they have. And while we need to dig up how much revenue is generated by the different parts of the MTA, Thompson says that many suburban commuters who use the LIRR and Metro-North also rely on subway and bus service as part of their commute. His recommendation: The MTA should spend almost $700 million more on capital improvements to the NYC Transit areas.

And on Wednesday, the NY Times reported that the MTA is facing surging costs jeopardize big capital projects like the Second Avenue Subway, the 7's expansion, and the LIRR-Grand Central link. Some reasons the $21 billion program is already $1.4 billion over budget: The weak dollar (the MTA buys parts from overseas), rising construction costs, and few bidders for projects.

Photograph and graphic from City Comptroller Thompson's report