The good news, says Manhattan Institute infrastructure expert Nicole Gelinas, is that things are not getting worse. One day shy of the year anniversary of Joe Lhota’s return to the helm at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and several months after the roll-out of the Subway Action Plan, service has not deteriorated further.
But there are few signs of real improvement, Gelinas told the Max & Murphy podcast on Tuesday. Performance numbers aren’t improving. Even relatively simple contracts are going well past deadline with little explanation for it. And the political will needed to really save the system, both in terms of finding the money to pay for long-term work and reshaping city streets to accommodate short-term changes, seems to be lacking.
“The MTA doesn’t have a funding crisis now,” she said, pointing to the relatively small amount the authority has drawn down from the capital money appropriated to it. The barriers now are more about the relatively small number of contractors who can actually bid to take on the kinds of jobs the MTA is letting out. At some point, however, there will be a need for more resources and “We will have to do congestion pricing at some point.”