Andrew Yang has no answers on MTA takeover, agency debt

He would possibly wish to test his math.

Mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang wants the city to take management of subways and buses from the state — however has few particulars about how he would make it occur, and was completely stumped when requested concerning the measurement of the MTA’s massive debt on Wednesday.

The former presidential wannabe — identified for carrying a hat with “MATH” written on it — held a press convention outdoors MTA HQ promising to element why the Big Apple ought to take over town’s transit system, the place he was requested twice if he is aware of the quantity of debt the agency holds and the way a lot of its working price range goes to paying again these loans.

“I don’t have the number in front of me,” Yang finally admitted, after being requested a for the debt figures for a second time.

“Right now, it is facing a massive shortfall — before the feds came through, so thank you Chuck Schumer. Love it,” he mentioned.

“The MTA doesn’t break up its numbers out that cleanly,” he claimed. “You know, you’re looking at revenues around $8 or $9 billion, and an operating deficit of, uh, it’s like around $3 and a half [billion].”

In reality, transit leaders and state officers present common updates to their board, the general public and bondholders concerning the measurement of the MTA’s debt and its hit on riders, whose fares wind up overlaying the price of borrowing additional down the road.

Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang said crime is the biggest issue facing the public transit system.
Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang mentioned crime is the most important difficulty dealing with the general public transit system.
William Farrington

A report final month from state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli pegged the authority’s long-term debt at $37 billion. By 2024 the debt may quickly gobble up 23 % of the MTA’s fare, toll and tax revenues, DiNapoli warned.

Jamie Rubin, the previous head of state operations beneath Gov. Andrew Cuomo who appeared alongside Yang at his press convention to supply “expert” perception, insisted the debt load is “not a relevant question to the proposal.”

“Is there complexity around the financial structure? Absolutely,” Rubin interjected, “but the actual flow of revenue is not going to change one bit. The debt service is the debt service. We’re just going to have to meet the debt service. So if the money doesn’t change, the debt service doesn’t change.”

A transit takeover plan floated by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson in 2019, which Yang cited on Wednesday, instructed retaining the present MTA “long enough to finish servicing its current debt” — which is projected to take a number of many years.

Under Johnson’s plan, revenues “would first flow through the legacy MTA to service that debt before flowing back” to the city-run transit community.

Municipal management of town’s transit system is certainly one of Yang’s marketing campaign platforms, however he has supplied scant particulars about how he would do it — and didn’t provide far more perception Wednesday, declining to say how he intends to get the concept handed via Albany.

Rachael Fauss of the good-government group Reinvent Albany warned that suburban and upstate state legislators gained’t willingly hand over their energy over the agency.

“There are contracts that the MTA holds in Buffalo and Plattsburg and Yonkers,” Fauss mentioned. “There’s a huge amount of capital work that is done all throughout New York state and state legislators have a big interest in those capital contracts.”

Fauss warned that the MTA’s debt “could sink the MTA’s operating budget,” and town is restricted by state-imposed debt maximums.

“All roads lead to Albany,” Fauss mentioned. “The city can’t raise tax dollars on its own without approval from Albany. The state is going to continue to be a necessary partner in managing the MTA, no matter where it lives.”

During his press conference, Andrew Yang thanked Senator Chuck Schumer for his help getting funds from the COVID relief bill.
During his press convention, Andrew Yang thanked Senator Chuck Schumer for his assist getting funds from the COVID aid invoice.
William Farrington

Yang on Wednesday known as crime “the primary issue” confronting mass transit, however refused to reply when reporters requested him what number of law enforcement officials he would add to the subway system as mayor — a hot topic in metropolis politics in current days.

“You need a leader who’s responsible for safety on the subways,” he mentioned. “The first step is saying, ‘I am responsible,’ and then doing what is necessary to make sure that the safety concerns are addressed on our subways.”

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