Transportation Reinvention Commission Calls For MTA Improvements: Report Recommends Seven Strategies To Meet Challenges Ahead

The MTA Transportation Reinvention Commission has released its final report outlining seven strategies. The group of 24 experts, convened by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to address challenges facing the regional transportation network, recommends the MTA take significant steps to re-engineer its way of doing business and make its system more resilient, while all those who benefit from the MTA’s services must contribute to reliable long-term funding to continue to drive the region’s prosperity.

The report says the continued economic success of the New York region is by no means guaranteed and depends on a world-class transportation network that reliably, comfortably and seamlessly takes customers where they want to go. It says the MTA must change its practices and become more resilient in order to accommodate a growing population, changing travel patterns, rising expectations and a more volatile climate. It calls on the MTA to accelerate investments to keep the network in a state of good repair, streamline the project delivery system and work more effectively with its regional partners in order to enhance and expand the system in a more efficient and effective way. Additionally, the report challenges the MTA to implement a comprehensive program to cut costs and generate more revenue, The report also says everyone in the region who benefits directly or indirectly from MTA services must contribute to a reliable long-term funding plan, and offers several examples of funding mechanisms that have been successfully used to fund transit systems around the world.

“New York will never have a world-class transit system unless the MTA reinvents itself and the public invests in it. A robust transportation network is essential to the region, but its past achievements do not make future success inevitable. Our work shows that the MTA can meet the array of challenges it faces, but doing so will require careful stewardship, creative thinking and heightened investment to ensure it can continue to be the engine that drives New York,” said Ray LaHood, co-chair of the Transportation Reinvention Commission and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

“The subway, bus, commuter railroad and bridge and tunnel network that made New York into America’s economic center cannot be taken for granted. The MTA needs to think creatively to ensure this $1 trillion asset is maintained, improved and expanded to accommodate growth and change. Without bold action, the MTA will not be able to serve the future needs of the New York region, and the impact will be felt in the region’s economy as well as in its quality of life,” said Jane Garvey, co-chair of the Transportation Reinvention Commission and former Federal Aviation Administrator.

“The Transportation Reinvention Commission is performing a valuable service to the MTA and to the entire New York region, which can only function with a strong mass transit network. We selected commission members who would bring a wide range of perspectives and concentrated expertise to the task, and this report shows that while difficulties lie ahead, none of them are insurmountable. The report confirms the importance of the MTA to the region and the nation, as well as the need for significant investments to ensure its continued importance going forward. Some of the commission’s recommendations challenge the MTA to perform better, and some challenge the entire New York region to contribute to the improvement of our transportation network. I appreciate the service the commissioners have provided with their important work,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast.

The MTA created the Transportation Reinvention Commission in May at the recommendation of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who urged the MTA to consult with international experts on how to prepare the transportation network for the next century. The report recommends seven key strategies for meeting future challenges:

1) The MTA must reengineer its way of doing business by creating a “new MTA” that is more efficient, transparent, and accountable to the public, including a new center of excellence to optimize project delivery and engage the private sector.

2) The MTA must accelerate and sustain core capital investment to bring its infrastructure into a state of good repair in order to maximize safety, reliability and resiliency.

3) The MTA must create a 21st-century customer experience to provide all customers an information-rich, accessible, reliable, frequent and easy-to-use service.

4) The MTA must aggressively expand the capacity of the existing system both to alleviate constraints and to meet the needs of growing ridership, which will provide greater redundancy as well as fewer disruptions.

5) The MTA must make investments designed to serve existing and emerging population and employment centers not well served by the existing system, pursuing new flexible service alternatives and operating modes.

6) The MTA must forge partnerships with its local, state, and federal economic development and planning partners, as well as the private sector, to drive the region’s economic growth; and must establish more collaborative working relationships with other transit agencies to better integrate regional transit.

7) The MTA must have a balanced, stable and reliable long-term funding plan that includes dedicated revenues and contributions from all who benefit from MTA services, directly or indirectly. The MTA must implement a comprehensive program to cut costs, and embrace a more entrepreneurial approach to revenue generation.

A copy of the Transportation Reinvention Commission report is available at this link: