The MTA and the Real Estate Bubble: $88 M. Apartments Do Not Mean Transit Agency Is Rich Again


Yesterday, MTA chief Joe Lhota was on the Brian Lehrer Show, where he almost immediately walked back his earlier radio statements that he was leaning toward a base fare hike to $2.50. But Mr. Lehrer was more interested in discussing the question on many New Yorkers’ minds: Do we really need another fare hike, especially coming so soon after the last one?

SEE ALSO: Real Estate Board, Brokers Outraged About Vacancy Tax Talks

Mr. Lhota said we do, because costs like pensions and debt-service have not kept up with revenue—and this was mandated in 2009 anyway, when Gov. Paterson and Richard Ravitch created their MTA bailout. But how could there not be more revenues, particularly from real estate? The economy is still mediocre, for sure, but in a year that has seen more blockbuster sales than we can keep track of, shouldn’t the far-too-dependent-on-real-estate-taxes transit agency be flooded with cash?
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