While we were all distracted with that Jets stadium, the State legislature just went and vetoed the MTA capital plan. A lot of the money in the plan is for repairing stations, which probably is necessary, but I wish they would at least get enough money to stop the track fires. Although it's not the last step, this veto doesn't bode well. As the Straphangers campaign urges, the capital plan is important because
New York State under Governor George Pataki has forced the MTA to rely more and more heavily on borrowing backed by its operating budget. As a result, the MTA has been forced to borrow or refinance $22 billion-plus in bonds and now faces a huge and growing bill. Its yearly interest payments on the bondsãcalled "debt service"ãwill double between 2003 and 2007, going from $800 million to $1.6 billion, placing huge pressure to raise fares and cut service. At the same time, Mayor Bloomberg has cut $90 million from the MTA's current five-year rebuilding plan.
At this moment when we're not in a fiscal crisis, let's all remember that moment when we were.