Support for MTA Budget and Capital Plan Transparency Legislation



A791 (Carroll)/S2768 (Ramos)


MTA Budget and Capital Open Data


(PDF of memo here.)

An act to amend the public authorities law, in relation to requiring the metropolitan transportation authority to publish certain financial reports on the authority’s website.

Section 1 amends subdivision 2-a of section 1269-b of the public authorities law to require specific data pertaining to the MTA’s capital programs be published on the authority’s website and the state’s open data portal in an open data format. Section 2 amends section 1276-b of the public authorities law to mandate that data pertaining to the MTA’s financial plans and operating budget is published on the authority’s website and the state’s open data portal. Section 3 states that the act takes effect immediately.

The MTA is the largest service provider in New York State, with a $17 billion operating budget, and a $55 billion capital plan for 2020-2024. The MTA largely releases information about its operating budget and capital programs in an inaccessible PDF format, rather than an open data format. This requires laborious manual copying or “scraping” by the public in order to more analyze the data, even though this information is maintained and used by MTA staff in spreadsheet format. The information currently provided by the MTA in spreadsheet form is incomplete and not routinely updated.

The legislation requires that all MTA financial plan and operating budget information is provided in an open data format and published on the state’s open data portal. Additionally, the bill codifies existing capital dashboard disclosures currently provided on the MTA’s website, with additional requirements to ensure that the public is better able to track changes to projects over time. Specifically, data about the original budgets and schedules of capital projects is mandated to be released, rather than only updated or amended information. This will help ensure that project progress is not “rebaselined” or only shows a limited snapshot in time, providing the public with more complete information to assess potential cost overruns and delays. This in turn will allow the Legislature and public to better understand MTA performance and hold the authority accountable.

Groups in support:

Reinvent Albany
Center for Independence of the Disabled NY (CIDNY)
Disabled In Action of Metropolitan NY
Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign
Riders Alliance
Rise and Resist Elevator Action Group
Regional Plan Association
Tri-State Transportation Campaign