Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby gokeefe » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:03 pm

It's a House Bill ... Pay more attention to what comes out of the Senate.
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby johndmuller » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:06 pm

Greg, I realize and appreciate that you are being generally supportive, but to say that "As an upstater, I often end up "paying" for things in NYC.", (even though you follow up with "And you know what, I'm OK with that....") is perpetrating the same old urban myths / fun facts / fake news that gets everyone all riled up over things that may not even be true, not to mention whether they are better off left unsaid in either case. For my part, as a downstater, I'm pretty sure that the data indicate that compared to the amounts paid in to Albany, versus benefits received, the upstaters are getting a much better return on their investments and therefore I'm paying for stuff upstate.

For what it's worth, I'm OK with that too, although it tends to tick me off when Albany finesses the funding of things to the benefit of upstate. Take roads versus subways for example; the roads get mostly funded by State money or State Bonds, which are paid off by everyone, whereas the MTA gets mostly funded by MTA bonds, which are paid off by the MTA, which means the downstate users of the MTA. That's not entirely unfair, as the downstate populus also use roads and the upstate people only rarely use the MTA, but the notion that the State is giving out the money to fund roads, but only letting us borrow the money to build subways, etc. does rankle.

This same annoying stuff goes on at the national level too. States like NY and NJ ante up far more money compared to what they get back than do the many mostly more sparsely populated states whose representatives seem to feel that it their duty to cut taxes for their corporate supporters (at the direct expense of people in states like NY and NJ) while at the same time being parsimonious with money for needed improvements (like a tunnel under the Hudson) in those very same donor states. Gives one some insight into what they were talking about when they said "Don't tread on me!"

Lack of gratitude for paying more than our share is one thing, not great, but more or less tolerable, but starting from that point and then taking more and more while at the same time giving less and less - that is not acceptable.
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby electricron » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:29 am

There will always be an argument between rural and urban areas over government expenditures and taxes. It's been that way forever, and will always be that way.

New York City has 6,089 miles of roads, New York State has 114,592 miles of roads. NYC has 5.3% of the miles of roads of the entire state. It costs just as much to repave or resurface a mile of highway in rural NY as it does in the city. But there is more than just highways for the NYDOT to fund, there are railroads, airports, and ferries to help fund.
Source > ... 202011.pdf

I wonder how NYDOT funding is apportioned? ... ion-marks/
Total 5 year appropriations = $27 Billion
State contribution to MTA = $8.3 Billion
State contribution to Javits Center expansion = $1 Billion
Before we even start discussing highways and roads, New York City will consume more than 33% of the NYDOT 5 year budget.
I expect tax revenues from NYC is more than 5.3% than from the entire state just because of its population share alone, not accounting for all the corporate taxes paid by corporate headquarters located in the city. I have no idea what the percentage is. But not every department or agency of the state responsibilities are distributed the same as the revenues collected.
Last edited by electricron on Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Funding Discussion - Amtrak DC Politics RELATED TO RAIL!

Postby johndmuller » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:06 am

I think a lot of the MTA money is in the form of "permission to borrow", i.e. raising the MTA's debt ceiling (and consequently increasing debt servicing costs).

The overall amount of debt that the MTA can carry is related to the amount of money that the MTA is able to receive in farebox aand other revenue, so there are basically 2 nudges to raise fares, to be able to borrow more and to actually pay more in debt service. This is very convenient for politicians, as it allows them to take credit for giving the MTA money without actually having to have the money; it is sort of self financing.

It does appear, at least from what I could make of their financial docs, that the MTA is for the most part in on track to actually paying off most of the loans rather than continually rolling them over, so that's a good thing,

The bad thing is that the huge amount of debt is then analyzed and used politically as a demonstration of how the MTA is fiscally irresponsible, because it has so much debt and such a high cost of borrowing.

Of course, the City should do more too; I believe that theoretically the City owns the subway and the MTA is just operating it.
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