Investing in the MTA is Investing in America

     

MTA Spending Created 100,000 Jobs in Other States Over 8 Years

The full PDF report is available here, including the lists of top ten vendors in each state. See also the underlying data.

Introduction: Analysis of MTA Spending on Vendors 2011-2018

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is one of the largest state government agencies in the United States. The MTA’s operating budget topped $17B in 2020, and its 2020-2024 capital program is $55B. The MTA’s budgets dwarf those of many states – including Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming – all of which had $10B or less in planned annual operating and capital expenditures in 2019. The MTA carries about 40% of transit trips nationally and is literally the driver of about 10% of US GDP.

The COVID-19 crisis has devastated the MTA’s revenue and finances. User fees from transit riders and toll payers have plummeted, and dedicated taxes have declined significantly. In April alone, the MTA lost $600M in fare and toll revenue, and in May saw one of its major dedicated taxes decline by nearly 50%. Despite Congress providing $3.9B in emergency aid via the CARES Act in April, the MTA will likely run out of operating funds by the end of the summer. To remain functional to the end of 2020, the MTA will need an additional $3.9B from Congress to make up for its COVID-related losses. This additional funding is provided in the House HEROES Act, but not yet agreed to by the Senate.

Given its sheer size, the MTA’s contributions to the economy of the NYC metro area – and the US as a whole – are vast. Public transit is the lifeblood of the region; it powers the economy and enables NYC’s growth and success. In support of its mission, the MTA also spends billions of dollars on vendors, including those from other states. Nearly $8B or one-third of the MTA’s US spending was to vendors outside of NYS from 2011-2018, as will be detailed further in this report.

Urgent Need for Federal Emergency Funding

The MTA’s fiscal condition is dire. Emergency aid from the CARES Act will likely run out by the end of the summer, and the MTA needs at least $3.9B more to close its budget gaps for 2020. Without this funding, it will need to cut service and reduce its expenses, including on outside vendors. The House HEROES Act would provide the MTA with this needed investment, but the Senate has not yet come to the table to come to an agreement. Given the value that the MTA brings to the national economy – both by providing 10 percent of national GDP and nearly $8B in direct investment in businesses in other states – federal funding for mass transit at the MTA is an investment in US jobs.

The MTA Creates Jobs Across the United States

Beyond the value that mass transit provides to the metro region’s economy, the MTA creates jobs through its spending, both on capital projects and other goods and services. As the largest mass transit provider in the country, it purchases a huge array of goods and services from across the country. This spending supports the MTA moving 5.5 million daily riders – a population bigger than many states – on its subways alone during peak travel times. The MTA says it has over 70,000 employees who service 6,600 subway cars, 472 subway stations, 665 miles of track, and nearly 6,000 buses, all of which require substantial investment.

All the big parts that move riders like train cars, buses, rails and tracks are accompanied by spending on small items like signage, uniforms and cleaning supplies. Still other areas of spending are less visible but support riders’ daily commutes, such as software, computers, communications equipment and the consultants who provide outside expertise on finance, engineering, IT and legal services.

The MTA’s reach across the country is vast, with wooden railroad ties from West Virginia, tracks from Ohio, uniforms from South Carolina, software from California, Dell computers from Texas, HP copiers from Arkansas, K-9s from Alabama, and rail cars, buses and their parts from New York, Indiana, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.

Capital spending by the MTA has been measured in terms of its impact on job creation in NYS, but not in other states. The Partnership for New York City studied the MTA’s nearly $55B 2020-2024 Capital Plan, finding that 7,300 direct and indirect jobs are created in NYS for each $1B of direct spending in NYS. The MTA has stated that its 2020-2024 capital plan will create 350,000 jobs in NYS.

The federal government has also measured national job creation as a result of its highway and transit investments. The Council of Economic Advisors found that for every $1B of high and transit investment from the American Jobs act would support 13,000 jobs – direct, indirect and induced – for one year.

Based on these federal job creation estimates, Reinvent Albany estimates that MTA spending of $7.8B in states outside of NY may have created as many as 100,000 jobs in direct, indirect and induced jobs from 2011-2018.

MTA Spending in the United States

The MTA spent a total of $22.8B in the United States on outside vendors from 2011 to 2018, according to procurement data analyzed by Reinvent Albany from New York’s Authorities Budget Office, which oversees New York’s public authorities. Not surprisingly, most was spent in New York State – $15B, or two-thirds of total spending. This report does not focus on spending in New York, though a list of top NYS vendors is available in Appendix 2.

The MTA spent nearly $8B, or one-third of total US payments, in states outside of New York. The list of spending by state is below:

  1. New York – $15B
  2. New Jersey – $1.7B
  3. Pennsylvania – $1.4B
  4. California – $797M
  5. Illinois – $691M
  6. Minnesota – $481M
  7. Ohio – $293M
  8. North Carolina – $266M
  9. Maryland – $265M
  10. Texas – $219M

Only three states had no MTA spending from 2011 to 2018: Alaska, Hawaii and Wyoming. In US territories, Puerto Rico saw $229,162 of spending through its vendor Mass Transit Products, and $202,860 in the US Virgin Islands to Quality Electric Supply.

It should be noted that to establish these numbers, Reinvent Albany relied on vendor address information provided by the MTA in its annual procurement reports to the Authorities Budget Office. Some companies have multiple locations and the address may reflect a headquarters, but not the total base of its operations or staffing. The payments were made from 2011-2018, so may reflect locations which have since moved or closed. See the full report for notes on methodology and full lists of the top ten vendors in each state.

Spending by Region/State

Looking at the vast amount of MTA spending from 2011 to 2018, there are some interesting trends and noteworthy purchases across US regions. State listings include ranking by size of MTA spending:

Nearby states saw the largest amounts of MTA spending:

  • New Jersey (#2 -$1.7B) has a number of large construction firms and hosts many Joint Ventures between them: the 86th Street Constructors Joint Venture ($216M), and Schiavone Construction ($80.1M), viaduct and bridge construction.
  • Pennsylvania (#3 – $1.4B) provides crucial transit equipment: Bombardier ($270.8M) railcars; Ansaldo STS USA ($97M) train control and signal systems; Cubic ($94.6M) fare payment systems; Mitsubishi Electrical Power Products ($76.6M); LB Foster ($47M) rail and parts; Thales ($43M) signal systems.
  • Connecticut (#11 – $206M) also provides significant services, from Ducci electrical contractors ($23.5M) and Sperry Rail ($11.9M), among others.

Midwestern states with large steel and manufacturing histories landed big MTA contracts:

  • Illinois (#5 – $691M) with Prevost Car ($176.7M) provided buses and parts, and Siemens’s ($119M) Elk Grove Village location provided CBTC and train control systems.
  • Minnesota (#6 – $481M) provided buses from its New Flyer ($328M) Crookston plant, and Accenture ($69.2) provided IT services.
  • Ohio (#7 – $293M) provided bus parts from New Flyer ($44.8M), and Cleveland Track Material ($40.8M) provided tracks and parts.
  • Indiana (#21 – $66M) provides bus parts from Muncie Transit Supply ($47M).

Appalachia provides wood railroad ties and other goods for the MTA:

  • Kentucky (#20 – $66M) provides bus parts from MCI Service Parts ($44M).
  • Tennessee (#25 – $34M) provides health services from American Occupation Health Management ($10M) and specialty signage from Cherokee Porcelain Enamel ($1.2M).
  • West Virginia (#28 – $22M) hosts Appalachian Timber Services, ($21M) which landed large contracts with the MTA for wooden railroad ties.

The Carolina’s top vendors provide rail parts and services, as well as host call centers:

  • North Carolina (#8 – $266M) hosts a paratransit call center with Global Contact Services ($130M).
  • South Carolina (#12 – $200M) provide railcar parts from Wabtec ($96M) and Harsco Rail ($30.5M).

Southern states have leading rail suppliers, and support other crucial MTA operations:

  • Florida’s (#15 – $108M) biggest MTA vendor, UTC Fire And Security Americas Corp provided MTA bus cameras ($24M), and Palm Coast Data ($18M) assists with Metrocard fulfillment and delivery.
  • Alabama (#16 – $93M) provides rail parts and services from Voestalpine Nortrak ($43.3M) and Progress Rail ($36M).
  • Louisiana (#36 – $5M) provides tickets from Southland Printing ($1M).

Southwestern states provided a range of products and services, from software to buses:

  • Texas (#10 – $219M) has major corporate offices like JP Morgan Chase Credit Card in Dallas ($48.8M) and Dell ($38.5M), and hosts Telvent ($40M) which repairs toll registry systems.
  • New Mexico (#18 – $82M) Prevost Car, New Mexico’s only MTA vendor, landed a large contract for MTA buses and parts.
  • Arizona (#31 – $13M) provides travel information software from Trapeze Software Group ($4M).

New England provides the MTA with a variety of services:

  • Massachusetts (#14 – $152M)provides cables from Draka USA ($22.3M), office supplies from contracts with Staples ($14.8M), and employee timekeeping devices and software from Kronos ($14.1M).
  • Maine (#22 – $64M) provides the MTA with fuel cards for its fleets from Wright Express Financial Services, headquartered in Portland ($61.3M).
  • Rhode Island (#30 – $19M) provides HVAC equipment from Walco Electric ($10.2M).

Mid-Atlantic states provide significant engineering services and railroad materials:

  • Maryland (#9 – $264M) provides goods from from Knorr Brake ($191.5M) and Yangtze Railroad Materials ($29.7M).
  • Virginia (#13 – $167M) provides engineering services from Ove Arup ($21M), as well as paratransit services from Init Innovations ($17M).

West coast states have a number of large software and IT contracts:

  • California (#4 – $797M) provides tech support from Cubic ($44.8M) which is installing the MTA’s new fare payment system, OMNI, and has offices for one of the top MTA vendors in the country, MV Transportation, which provides paratransit services ($468M).
  • Washington (#24 – $37M) state’s Stratagen Systems ($18.8M) provides paratransit scheduling software.

Major and Niche Industry Sectors

Art

While most of the MTA’s artwork has come from NYS artists like Yoko Ono ($350k – 72nd Street Station) among others, artists from across the country have contributed art to the MTA’s Arts & Design initiative which has placed art in the following stations (note that some of these items are not in the top ten state vendor lists due to their smaller size):

  • Arizona – Whitlock Avenue, Barbara Grygutis Sculpture, Tucson ($190K)
  • California – Kings Highway, Machinic, San Francisco ($339K)
  • Colorado – Dyckman Street, Wopo Holup, Lyons ($53K)
  • Florida – 163rd and Amsterdam, Melisa Firelei Baez, Miami ($85K)
  • Massachusetts – Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Ave, Tom Patti Design, Pittsfield ($15K)
  • Missouri – Wyandach and Pinelawn, Mary Judge, St. Louis ($130K)
  • Pennsylvania – Rockaway Blvd/Liberty Line, Ray King Studio, Philadelphia ($140K)
  • Washington state – Elder Avenue, White Savage and Lyle, Freeland ($67K)

IT and Specialized Electronics Equipment

Computer and IT equipment purchases are often through large corporations headquartered out of state:

  • Dell Marketing ($38.5M) in Dallas, Texas
  • Hewlett Packard ($8.1M) in Conway, Arkansas
  • IBM ($62.6M) in North Carolina

Additionally, some purchases for specialized electronic equipment come from specialty vendors such as Daktronics ($5.9M) in South Dakota, which makes LED displays.

Uniforms

Uniforms come from states with a history of textile manufacturing:

  • North Carolina provides the MTA workboots from NC Saf Gard Safety Shoe ($3.9M)
  • South Carolina provides uniforms from Seventh Avenue Trade Apparel ($2.6M).

Heavy Duty Equipment

A number of states provide the MTA with construction vehicles:

  • North Dakota has the headquarters for Bobcat Excavators ($397k)
  • Kentucky sells the MTA excavators from North American Equipment Sales ($4M)
  • Minnesota’s Aspen Equipment sells Boom Trucks (cherrypickers) to the MTA ($1.7M)

Simulation

K-9s

  • Canines for the MTA Police Department mostly come from out of state, and even beyond the tri-state areas – from as far as Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee and Texas. One of Alabama’s top MTA vendors is Alabama Canine Law Enforcement Officers, which sold the MTA $70k worth of police dogs from 2011-2018.

International Spending

Total non-US international spending was $1.5B. Canadian vendors saw $1.4B worth of MTA spending, largely to Bombardier ($565M) for train cars and parts, and to New Flyer ($726.5M) for buses and parts. Germany had $32.4M worth of spending, mostly to Scheidt and Bachmann ($29.9M) for software and ticket vending machines. Spain saw $26.3M of MTA spending, largely to Sepsa ($25.3M) for train car HVAC and power systems.

Open Data for MTA Contracts and Procurement

While Reinvent Albany was able to obtain records of MTA procurement in order to produce this report, the data available from the Authorities Budget Office (ABO) as reported by the MTA required considerable manual effort to analyze and clean. It lacked the following important information and attributes:

– There were no contract numbers

– There were no unique identifiers for vendors, with some vendors being listed multiple ways, for example, a vendor could be listed the following separate ways:

  • ABC Rails, Incorporated
  • ABC Rails, Inc.
  • ABC Rails, Inc
  • ABC Rails Inc
  • ABC Rails

– Given the variety of listings for single companies, Reinvent Albany was required to clean the data to provide tallies by vendor.

– The information was only available from 2011-2018, due to lags in reporting time-

As recommended by Reinvent Albany in Open MTA: 50 Things NY Can Do Now to Renew Public Trust in MTA, the MTA and ABO should do the following to improve information about MTA contracts and spending:

  1. The ABO should revise its requirements for procurement reports to stipulate that authorities like the MTA include additional information including contract numbers, change order/amendment history, and subcontractors. Additionally, the ABO should consider working with the state government to require unique identifiers for vendors to all state authorities.
  2. The MTA should create a contracts database with timely information that provides full and complete information about projects and spending: (a) all data should be available for bulk download and with API access; (b) data should include contract numbers, unique identifiers for vendors, original and current costs of contracts, and information about the bidding process used and whether the contract was competitive/noncompetitive, among other detail; (c) contracts should list relevant Capital Project IDs if they are for capital projects.

By proactively releasing procurement and contract information in an open data format, the MTA will better allow other branches of government, researchers and advocates to analyze trends and more easily tell stories about the value the MTA brings nationally for job creation. Releasing this information will also reduce the MTA’s caseload of Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests.

The full PDF report is available here, including the lists of top ten vendors in each state. See also the underlying data.