Hurricane Irene Cost the MTA $110 Million; Fare Increases Still Planned for 2013
The MTA is out $110 million, reports the New York Post, thanks to Hurricane (later, Tropical Storm) Irene. That breaks down into $50 million to fix Metro-North's damaged Port Jervis line, $10 million spent on shuttle buses that ran as the line was down, and $50 million in operating costs, including lost fares and the cost to shut down the entire system. According to the MTA, "Overall results in August were significantly impacted by Tropical Storm Irene. Monthly passenger revenues were $21.7 million, or 5.3%, lower-than-forecast and toll revenues were $7.6 million, or 5.6%, lower."
While the Post reports that money for the Port Jervis repairs will come from the capital budget, there's also the possibility of reimbursements from FEMA and insurers. (The MTA's annual operating budget is about $12 billion.)
Yesterday the MTA issued RFPs for nine parcels of MTA-controlled real estate in the city, including MTA New York City Transit's former HQ at 370 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn; the lease or sale of such buildings would help provide funding to the MTA's Capital Program. They also announced a decrease in rush hour service during certain minor holidays, like the day after Thanksgiving, Good Friday, and the three weekdays after Christmas, to help match service to ridership levels.
As previously reported, the next fare increase is scheduled for 2013, and there's nothing to indicate at this point that that will change.
According to estimates reported by the Daily News last week, the storm cost the city at least $55 million in "response, recovery and damage to the city's infrastructure," and the cost to New York state was expected to exceed $1 billion.
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