As 2022 comes to a close, the state-controlled Metropolitan Transportation Authority continues to confront historic pandemic-related challenges even as it marks critical recovery successes. In terms of successes, first, weekday subway ridership is now often at two-thirds of the pre-pandemic normal, up from an average of less than half during 2021. This increase in ridership both reflects and enables New Yorkers’ return to their pre-pandemic office and leisure activities, and thus supports the city’s economic recovery. Second, the MTA has made progress on major capital-construction projects, from modernizing subway-line signals and inaugurating new bus lanes to planning for the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway.
On the more challenging side, the MTA still faces a violent-crime crisis. There have been a quarter-century high nine murders on the transit system in 2022 thus far, which deters some riders from returning. The MTA also faces a long-term fiscal crisis, with annual $2.5 billion budget deficits looming as soon as federal rescue funds run out in 2025. Finally, the MTA must determine the specifics of its planned congestion-pricing program, under which it will charge car and truck drivers between $9 and $23 to enter Manhattan below 60th Street, with the proceeds to fund transit improvements.
The event discussed these issues and more.