It goes without saying that Hurricane Sandy did tremendous damage to the MTA. The seemingly constant flow of service changes over the last two years have, in large part, been the result of much-needed repairs to tunnels and rails that were severely damaged in the storm. These ongoing subway repairs are one major problem still facing the MTA, as chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast laid forth at City & State’s “State of New York Infrastructure” conference yesterday. The other major problem? Millennials and their doggone expectations.

"The Millennials' expectations are really things that we thought were luxuries when we first rode the system, but they think are entitlements—and they are our customers," Prendergast said at the conference. "They are a growing customer base. Countdown clocks in stations, more timely information, improved technology is not a want, it’s a need. And the reinvention commission that the governor has asked us to do is to make sure we go beyond a state of good repair, deal with climate change, deal with those new needs."

The MTA's five-year capital plan comes to an end this year, but the MTA has several spinning plates in the air as they put together the next five-year plan: continuing the much-needed repairs on the system, expanding the existing network, completing several long-term projects (Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access), and pleasing those Millennials' insatiable demands for newfangled #technology.

Securing the right funding for all those projects sounds like a heavy task as well; the agency has spent around $90 billion in the first four capital programs stretching back to the 1980s. But Prendergast noted that the MTA is more resilient than one might think: "In the current capital program, we never knew Sandy was going to hit us in the middle of the capital program, and yet we’re seeing the most extensive amount of rebuilding due to damage done to the system, on top of the capital program."

Governor Cuomo, who has also called for new technology on the mass transit system, sent a letter to Prendergast calling for the creation of a "Transportation Reinvention Commission" made up of "international transportation experts" who would submit recommendations before the MTA’s capital plan was submitted in September. It's still unclear what percentage of the commission will be comprised of Millennials.

Along with all these repairs and advancements, there's one other very notable thing to look for in the MTA's plan: the death of the Metrocard. The MTA previously told us they plan to supersede the MetroCard with a new form of "fare payment technology" starting in 2019, by switching over to an electronic system at the tail end of the next capital program. You can read more about that plan here.