New York’s transit system, like those here on the U S mainland, finds itself in a financially unsustainable position. Despite huge subsidies from taxation of productive activity, its managers claim a need for $10 billion additional capital funds, and the current year’s budget assumes a docile union as well as $35 million that appears imaginary.
And, like private-sector corporate managers, its chief has departed the troubled system for triple the compensation at a more prosperous organization, in this case the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway. Would you blame him?
For those of us who seek reliable transit funding from a source which does not burden productivity, the important point is what this relocated executive calls Hong Kong’s “sustainable financial model.” And what is that? Simple, and no surprise to those who have been paying attention here. The Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway Corporation “earns millions of dollars from real estate developments along its rail lines.” That’s all it takes. Collect some of the land value, which public transportation supports, to fund the operation at reasonable fares. [Oh, yeah, and get competent managers for the transit operation, but they don’t mention that here.]
Source: Former M.T.A. Chief Recounts His Ups and the System’s Downs, New York Times, by Michael M. Grynbaum, Jan 4 2012. Thanks to Metro Magazine for the link.