Financial Focus: $15 For The Bridge! Happy Birthday MTA!

Anthony Rivieccio$15 For The Bridge! Happy Birthday MTA

by Anthony Rivieccio, MBA

Transportation. Whether it is public or private transportation, at the very least, should provide a safe, cost efficient way to move around the City!

But $15 to commute over a bridge? Seriously, a hundred twenty dollars a month to travel under a tunnel?

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) should have followed the example of the Federal Reserve which managed economic growth by maintaining a small 2% rate of inflation.

Now while there are many definitions for inflation. But at a minimum, it should translate as the “extra added cost” needed to keep up with the value of money.

From the time of the last toll increase (2011) to now, inflation has accumulated to 10%. So if MTA bridge tolls were $8 in 2011, how did they balloon to $15 today —  a 53% increase or a 10% annual increase?

The MTA monthly pass was valued at $99 in 2011. Today, at $120, this is a 17% total increase or a 3.4% annual increase. In 2011, the valued weekly pass (at $26) today valued at $31, Is a 16% increase , a 4.3% annual increase.

Now before you think these numbers don’t matter, let’s plug a bit further. Driving over a bridge, paying a 10% increase, based on today’s inflation means we are paying 48% EXTRA! At 2% inflation per year, this raise or extra cost should practically have been $8.80 NOT $15.00

At 2% inflation, a MTA monthly pass, should be $109 not $120. This is an EXTRA $11 increase or 9% EXTRA!

At 2% inflation, a MTA weekly EZ pass should be $28.60 not $31.00. Why are we paying $2.40 extra or 8% extra , per ride?

In essence, using the cheapest increase, the weekly EZ pass, we are paying 200% MORE than we should!

Have your attention yet? So what’s the solution, change the politicians? No! They don’t control it, either.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority provides local and express bus, subway, and regional rail service in Greater New York, and operates multiple toll bridges and tunnels in New York City. It was created in 1965 as a public benefit corporation responsible for public transportation. It was created by Governor Nelson Rockefeller to purchase and operate the bankrupt Long Island Rail Road.

The MTA is governed by a 19-member board representing the five boroughs of New York City and each of the counties in its New York State service area.

Five members, in addition to the Chairman and CEO, are directly nominated by the Governor of New York, with four recommended by New York City’s mayor, and one each by the county executives of Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties. Each of these members has one vote.

The county executives of Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Putnam counties also nominate one member each, but these members cast one collective vote. All board members are confirmed by the New York State Senate.

So, Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and suburban County executives — the executive branches of government have controlling influence — not your City Councilmember, Assemblyperson, State Senator or Member of Congress.

So, how is the MTA funded, you ask? Oh oh! Get ready, in short, themselves (with help from the State) by:

*Revenue from certain real estate taxes
*Bond issues
*Requesting aid from Albany and City Hall
*Fares and tolls

The MTA has consistently runs a deficit, but increased spending from 2000–2004 coupled with an economic downturn led to a severe increase in the agency’s financial burden.

According to independent reports, the MTA’s budget deficits are a growing crisis for the organization.

As of FY2015, the MTA was running a $15 billion deficit in its $32 billion 2015–2019 Capital Plan. Without additional funding, many needed infrastructure construction, technological upgrades, new train cars, and renovation projects may be delayed. If these vital projects are not funded, the MTA will fund the repairs by issuing more debt and raising tolls and fares to cover to repay the additional debt.

Even as inflation has plunged during the last nine years of their plan (2011-2019), toll increases have brought in 65% EXTRA! If you want a perfect example of government waste, the MTA might be a perfect example. It looks like the extra dough pays for a whole lot of employment, salaries and meetings.

There are a lot of four-letter words I can use, but one thing for sure, it’s not I-N-F-L-A-T-I-O-N.

Happy birthday, MTA. On us!

Anthony Rivieccio is the founder & the CEO of The Financial Advisors Group, celebrating their 18th year as a fee only financial planning firm specializing in solving one’s financial problems. Anthony, a recognized financial expert since 1986, has been featured by many national and local media including: Klipingers Personal Finance, The New York Post, News12 The Bronx, Bloomberg News Radio, Bronxnet Channel 67 TV, The Norwood News, The West Side Manhattan Gazette, Labor Press Magazine, Financial Planning Magazine, WINS 1010 Radio, The Bronx News and The Bronx Chronicle.

For financial inquires or assistance, Anthony can be reached at (347) 575-5045 or

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