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MTA May Need $7 Billion More for Subway

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/mta-may-need-7-billion-more-for-subway-1531956526

 

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MTA May Need $7 Billion More for Subway

Replacing and rehabbing much of New York’s aging fleet will cost over $9 billion, watchdog group says.

By Maya Sweedler

July 18, 2018 7:28 p.m. ET

 

 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority needs to spend over $7 billion in additional funding to improve its aging and increasingly unreliable subway fleet in New York City, according to a new report by a local watchdog group.

The nonpartisan Citizens Budget Commission said in the report released Wednesday that subway cars have been breaking down more frequently as the MTA has replaced cars at a slower pace and lengthened maintenance cycles. Increasing the subway system’s reliability will require the restoration and replacement of much of the fleet, and will cost more than $9 billion, according to the report.

That is the price tag for purchasing 3,650 new subway cars and retrofitting an additional 1,200 existing cars—figures drawn from the MTA’s Fast Forward plan, a recently released proposal that seeks to revitalize the city’s subway and bus systems over a 10-year period.

The MTA’s current capital budget, which ends in 2019, only allocates $1.7 billion for new and rehabbed cars. The agency hasn’t yet released its next capital budget, which begins in 2020. The Citizens Budget Commission recommended allocating $8.3 billion to purchase new cars and $710 million to retrofit existing cars over the next decade.

In a statement, the MTA said it supported the report’s conclusion regarding the need to fund the Fast Forward plan. It added that New York City Transit Authority President Andy Byford has been meeting with stakeholders in government to make the same case.

The details of Fast Forward were revealed in May, but the NYCT hasn’t yet announced the program’s official budget estimates. The unofficial cost of the total program is about $43 billion.

Jamison Dague, the Citizens Budget Commission’s director of infrastructure studies and the report’s author, said his organization has been interested in exploring the relationship between subway performance and car procurement and maintenance since the MTA amended its current capital plan in May 2017. The amendment rolled funding for new subway cars into the next capital plan, the period during which the cars would actually arrive.

Ultimately, Mr. Dague said, he wanted to highlight the importance of allocating resources to maintaining infrastructure.

“Ongoing cost must be thought about when MTA sits down to decide how they’re going to dedicate capital,” he said.

The current plan’s $1.7 billion allocation provides for 450 new subway cars, which are set to arrive between 2021 and 2023. The existing contract includes an option to purchase an additional 1,077 new cars at a predicted lower per-car cost in the 2020-24 capital period.

The MTA has operated in five-year capital planning periods since 1982, after the mean distance between subway car failures reached an all-time low of 6,640 miles, according to the report. Over the next decade, the MTA purchased almost 1,800 new cars and overhauled much of the rest of the fleet. It also implemented a scheduled maintenance system, which includes regular inspections, cleaning and preventive maintenance.

The report found that on average subway cars have been failing more frequently since 2011, even falling beneath the MTA’s standard of 150,000 miles between failure. During that time period, the fleet’s average age rose from 17.9 years to 22.5. The percentage of cars in operation for more than 40 years—the standard useful lifespan—also quadrupled from 4% to 16%.

In 2005, the mean distance between failures was 178,085 miles, the report said. In 2017, the most recent full year for which data is available, it had fallen to 121,220. While the mean distance has improved by 3.6% since the NYCT introduced its Subway Action Plan in 2017, it is still more than 37,000 miles beneath the MTA standard.

A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio declined to comment for this article. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office referred questions to the MTA.

 

 

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Is MDBF only related to car issues, or do signal/track problems factor into it as well?

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2 minutes ago, P3F said:

Is MDBF only related to car issues, or do signal/track problems factor into it as well?

CBTC signals are also a factor. That is why the MDBF for the R143s is abysmal.

Edited by Union Tpke
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Restrictive timers also make operators more cautious and likely to break unnecessarily, wearing down components of the train and rails.

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