New York City has more outstanding debt than ever before, and Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed a 10-year capital plan that will increase it substantially. Now is the time to consider how much debt is appropriate.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Shola Olatoye, Chair and CEO of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), released on May 19th a 10-year roadmap called "NextGeneration NYCHA". The roadmap is a bold plan that deserves to be supported.
The MTA is vital to the region’s economic well-being. Its mass transit services, seven bridges, and two tunnels comprise a $1 trillion asset. On an average weekday, the system’s trains and buses move people on more than 8.5 million trips, and nearly three out of four people entering Manhattan’s central business district do so via an MTA facility.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has thus far declined to require city agencies to meet targets for increasing efficiency in the delivery of government services. In doing so, he has broken a pattern established by every mayor since the fiscal crisis in the 1970s, and he's taking a gamble that may come back to haunt the city's taxpayers.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority needs about $32 billion over the next five years to repair, replace and improve its facilities, notably the vast and essential mass transit system. It only has about $13 billion.
New York State's economic development programs have long been the subject of debate because it is difficult to measure the benefits they produce. Are the State's considerable investments worthwhile? Although their political value is clear, their economic value is not.
Landfilled trash managed by New York City's Department of Sanitation costs $300 million each year and produces more than 1 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The high expense and environmental impact result from the City's low residential diversion rate and high reliance on private and municipal landfills in faraway locations.
The port of New York-New Jersey is the largest container port on the East Coast. It's publicly owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and it consistently loses money ($82 million in 2013). Two facilities within the port produced losses per acre above $180,000 in 2013 (the latest data available): Brooklyn at $205,718 and Red Hook at $184,788. Adjacent to one another, both properties could be far better used if converted to other purposes desired by the community.
Nearly six of every 10 of the 3.7 million people entering New York’s central business district each weekday rely on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s commuter rails, subways and buses. New York’s vibrant economy relies on the MTA’s services, and providing these services is expensive.