The MTA Is Big Business in the Tri-State Region

100,000 New York Jobs at Risk from Cancellation of Congestion Pricing
MTA Paid $35 Billion to Area Companies Over Last Decade

As covered by the New York Times, Reinvent Albany updated its interactive maps of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) direct spending, which show $35 billion in payments to MTA vendors on goods and services across the tri-state area from 2014 to 2023.

Due to Governor Hochul’s “pause” of the MTA’s congestion pricing program, $15 billion in capital investments, including $12 billion to private sector companies doing business with the MTA, is on hold and at least 87,600 jobs relating to MTA vendors alone are at risk.

The updated maps cover MTA spending on companies located in these political boundaries:

Key Findings

  1. Congestion pricing will improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion, save time worth billions to people and businesses, and fund crucial transit projects. Without it, at least 100,000 jobs are at risk in NYS, and 87,600 good jobs for MTA vendors are on the chopping block.
  1. The MTA spent $35 billion paying vendors across the tri-state region from 2014-2023.
  1. Every New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut congressional district has at least one company paid by the MTA, as do 100% of New York State senate districts, and 98% of New York State assembly districts (147 of 150). 
  1. The MTA’s $51.5 billion 2020-2024 Capital Plan, partly financed by congestion pricing, is a massive investment in the MTA’s buses, subways, and commuter railroads that benefits transit riders and companies throughout the region who do business with the MTA.

Previously, Reinvent Albany published details of the MTA spending on companies in New York State (November 2023) New Jersey (June 2023) and across the United States (June 2020). All these analyses have been powered by open data published by the MTA and Authorities Budget Office.

The vast majority of capital plan projects are done by outside vendors. Prior Reinvent Albany analyses found that about $3 billion, or 21% of the $15 billion congestion pricing revenues, would support in-house capital work conducted by MTA workers. 

The MTA and Partnership for New York City have published separate analyses on the economic impacts of the MTA’s 2020-2024 capital plan that suggest the $15 billion in capital funding raised by congestion pricing would create somewhere between 101,500 and 109,470 private and public sector jobs in New York State.

The MTA reports that its 2020-2024 capital plan will create 350,000 jobs in New York State alone – not including the benefit to local employers of an improved transit system. Congestion pricing is slated to provide 29% of the funding for the capital plan ($15 billion of the $51.5 billion), or roughly 101,500 private and public sector jobs in New York State. 

A Partnership for New York City study on the benefits of MTA capital spending, found that 7,300 direct and indirect jobs are created in New York State for each $1 billion of direct transit capital spending. Again, the Partnership’s number only includes the direct stimulus effect of MTA capital spending, not the economic benefits of better transit service and easier access to jobs and services.The MTA’s recent statement to bondholders suggests the negative impacts of the Governor’s pause on congestion pricing will reverberate across the capital program and operating budget. Therefore the Governor’s pause will likely cost MTA vendors far more than $12 billion and the MTA’s unionized workforce much more than $3 billion in wages and benefits in-house capital work. 

A loss of $12 billion for companies doing business with the MTA is a loss of at least 87,600 jobs – the vast majority of which are located in New York State and the metropolitan region. (Over the last 6 years, two-thirds or 66% of all MTA vendor payments for capital and operating goods and services have been made within New York State, with 8% to New Jersey.)

It’s well known that the MTA provides massive economic value to the city and state by moving millions of people to jobs, school, entertainment, healthcare, and shopping. Less known is that from 2014 to 2023, the MTA directly paid $35 billion to its vendors located in communities across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. 

Reinvent Albany’s latest data dive makes it clear that congestion pricing is essential to the economy of New York State and the metropolitan region. State law requires the implementation of congestion pricing, which will allow the MTA to bond $15 billion of the $51.5 billion needed for its 2020-2024 Capital Plan. This means congestion pricing is the largest single source of funding for this capital plan. Without it, 29% of all the new construction, signaling, rail and subway cars, and buses it purchases – including billions in goods and services from businesses across the region – is at risk. 

MTA Vendor Mapping Methodology
Vendor data obtained from the Open NY Data Portal (see here and here) was cleansed and integrated by deduplicating names and addresses, using alphabetical and zip code sorting while rectifying spelling errors, business aliases, and changes due to mergers or acquisitions. Address information was confined to the years 2022 and 2023. Post-deduplication, these addresses were integrated into the 2014-2021 records based on matching vendor names and zip codes, under the premise that vendors operate a single location per zip code.

For vendors without direct matches in NY, particularly those with cumulative transactions exceeding $1 million, encompassing 300 vendors and 354 vendor-zip code combinations, a manual search was conducted. This process involved verifying addresses through Google and commercial datasets, such as Dun & Bradstreet and Yellow Pages, successfully pinpointing addresses for 329 pairs. For vendors without direct matches in NJ and CT, vendors with the largest number of transactions had addresses similarly manually searched and verified. 

Subsequently, these identified addresses underwent precise geocoding via the ArcGIS Geocoding Service. Transactions without detailed addresses were geocoded at the zip code centroid.

District maps are based on those that will take effect after the 2024 elections; current incumbents are listed.

See also our datasheet of the top 5 vendors by NYS, NJ, and CT congressional districts, and NYS Assembly and Senate districts for incumbents currently in office as of June 2024.