Broken MTA: Unaccountable, Borrowing Junkie, Politician Slush Fund, Killing Off Middle-Class With Congestion Pricing
By Gary Tilzer
The failure to control crime and homelessness on the subway continues to hurt New Yorkers and the city’s economy, but voters are powerless to vote the leaders of the public authority, the MTA out of office. The Public Authority Act of 1921 has had the effect of shielding elected officials who run the MTA from blame for poor services or increasing debt. On paper the State Authorities are independent, but in reality, elected officials pull the MTA strings thru the board members and CEOs they appoint to run the authority. As far as who the media and public blame for the broken subways, the MTA is still the only “Three-Card Monte” game of confusion left on the city’s streets. During a rough patch in 2017, of rising temperatures, delays, and a train derailed, the newspapers were filled with Cuomo and de Blasio blaming each other for the subway meltdown, at the same time Cuomo was taking credit for the 2nd Avenue subway.
NY Times 2017: When the MTA comes under fire for lousy service, Cuomo disavows responsibility, hiding behind the board structure. In 2017, amid headlines dominated by train delays and disruptions, Cuomo’s office noted that the state lacked a majority on the MTA board. The previous year, the governor happily took credit for opening the first three stations of the Second Avenue Subway on time: “You know who runs the MTA?” he asked NY1 anchor Errol Louis rhetorically. “It’s me. . . . I accept that responsibility.”
The subways are the lifeblood of the city, but few New Yorkers understand how it operates. The MTA was created to insulate elected officials, the real transportation decision-makers, from blame or accountability. Lack of political accountability led to decades of mismanagement and out-of-control spending. The media has become so clueless about the MTA, that politicians who control the authority know they can join the public in attacking the subway’s problems, to improve their public image. In 2019 Cuomo, who eliminated thousands of hospital beds for the mentally ill, demanded that the MTA fix the homeless problem on the subways. Elected officials through the years have taken advantage of the lack of accountability, and now the city is being torn apart by a broken MTA.
After decades of mismanagement (now staff shortages), the MTA claims it needs Congestion Pricing (CP), like a junkie that needs cash (government money), to pay for their drug fix (borrowing, and debt services). The MTA’s need for CP for its latest cash fix will push out what is left of the middle-class, who since the pandemic have fled the city in increasing numbers (400,000). The same middle-class that Mayor Adams needs to battle Albany progressives to change the bail laws, to reduce the 50% surge in crime and homelessness occupying the subways. You would not know the danger the MTA faces if you listened to NY1’s Pat Kiernan and his fellow news readers working in local media, as they read back like a court stenographer the latest MTA press release, that all the subway tunnels will have cell phone service in 10 years.
The media has not educated New Yorkers to understand that what is important to those elected officials that really control MTA is what the authority can do for them and their friends, not what they can do to run the subway and buses properly. Elected Officials and MTA decision-makers who have come and gone throughout the years, put their flashy projects and financial gimmicks ahead of the needs of the train and bus riders. Robert Moses was right when he opposed Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s creation of the MTA (to weaken him). Moses said the super authority would help the special interests, not the riders of public transit. Reporters who always have Robert Caro’s book, “The Power Broker” about Moses’ rule over NY, on their bookshelf when they are on Skype to show how smart they are, have never done a story about how the master-building was right about the MTA.
Guardian Angel Curtis Sliwa calls the MTA the “Money Taking Agency.” The MTA is more of a pinata that allows elected officials, bond sellers, and transit contractors to use its fare revenues, 75 billion capital (funded mostly by borrowing), and operating MTA operating budget for their own ends. Elected officials milk its revenue streams and allow the agency to borrow billions to promote their favorite projects or redirect MTA’s funds to other uses. The late Assemblyman Richard Brodsky who the NY Times called Albany’s Conscience, because of the abuses he uncovered of state authorities like the MTA. Brodsky said the MTA became a piggy bank for elective officials looking to use its revenue streams to fund vanity projects, like Cuomo’s $4.4 billion two-miles-long, Second Ave extension. Albany also used the MTA budget to fund other politically important projects to them, like upstate ski resorts that lost money because of a warm winter. In other words, the MTA is a slush fund for politicians, the larger the borrowing, the more influence they can buy with government money. Cuomo received hundreds of thousands in campaign donations from transit unions and contracts that did business with the MTA. Someone received campaign donations for redirecting MTA funds to bail out upstate Ski resorts. “It’s genuinely shocking how much of every dollar that goes to the M.T.A. is spent on expenses that have nothing to do with running the subway, there is no accountability,” said Seth W. Pinsky, the former head of the city’s Economic Development Corporation.
An examination by The New York Times in 2017, revealed in stark terms how the needs of the aging, overburdened system have grown while city and state politicians have consistently steered money away from addressing them. Efforts to add new lines have been hampered by generous agreements with labor unions and private contractors that have inflated construction costs to five times the international average
NY1’s News Reader Kiernan and The Partnership’s Wylde Join the MTA in Destroying What’s Left of the City’s Middle-Class
NY1’s Pat Kiernan interviewed Kathryn Wylde, President, and CEO of the Partnership about her support of CP. The Partnership is a lobby group that represents the major bankers, developers, and corporate interests in NYC. Wylde claimed the subways needed the funds from CP revenue to operate. Kiernan did not ask Wylde if she believed the one billion from CP revenue funds for the MTA, would do anything to stop the addiction to leverage borrowing (70 billion) and the mismanagement in the public authority that is hurting the city’s economy. Both Wylde and CEO of the MTA Janno Lieber claimed that CP will protect the city’s central business district. However, for months both have claimed that crime was keeping workers off the subways and from returning to their office buildings in the central business district. Kiernan never asked Wylde or Lieber if the subway’s 50% increase in crime has slowed up workers’ return to their office buildings. Kiernan has done stories about the harm lack of bees does to the environment, but has never done a story of what the elimination of NYC’s middle class is doing to the city’s government. How long does Wylde, who is against CP exemptions, think people from Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island will stay in the city if they have to pay $35 every time they visit their doctor in Manhattan? Does Wylde think fewer Broadway shows and restaurants will not close if people from the outer boroughs stop going to the theater because of the extra $35 CP fee? 90% of the businesses in the city that receive deliveries for their businesses by trucks will be subject to the CP fees on top of inflation increases for the projects they deliver. Does Wylde think prices will not go up in NYC’s restaurants and small businesses because of CP? Kiernan should have asked Wylde what is being done to help the city’s poor and minorities already hurt by 10% inflation, from paying higher food prices caused by CP. It could cost more in tolls to drive between Queens Borough Hall to City Hall in Manhattan than from our City Hall to San Francisco’s City Hall through I-80, per Tollguru.com. Kiernan should have also called out Wylde’s claim that CP would be good for the environment as a hoax, as explained by Reza Chowdlhury on Twitter:
Reza Chowdhury Twitter @RezaC1 (If CP) causes an increase in bus usage, the MTA will have to secure more buses. Cool – more buses! The city has 6K buses, a tiny portion are all electric. The rest are diesel or diesel hybrid. These diesel-burning buses increase the amount of NO2, which is significantly worse for health outcomes, dispelled into the air. This is what happened in London… Less CO2, more nitrous dioxide. It’s been estimated that CP will result in an annual decrease of 364,589 -493,277 miles driven citywide. Impressive right? This amount is less than 1% of the total miles driven in the city per year. 99% of the threat of pollution from cars will remain.
Kiernan should have asked Wylde that given that CP fails to meaningfully address climate, pollution, health, and the MTA’s financial health concerns, what’s the point of introducing another tax on an already burdened middle class by high inflation, that gets less for more each day? Kiernan should have asked Wylde, with the city’s economy weakened by COVID, businesses closing for good, and over 400.000 New Yorkers leaving the city, if this was the right time to start CP. Instead of asking how high the toll will be, Kiernan should have asked Wylde when she said CP is needed to reduce traffic congestion, if she thinks the city streets are as packed with cars as they were before the pandemic.
Reporters Like Kiernan are Now Part of the City’s Elite Political Class, Journalism Used to be a Working-Class Profession Guided by Its Values
Kiernan never asked Wylde if she thought the middle-class moderate voters pushed out of the city by CP fees from the outer boroughs would hurt her and Mayor Adams’s efforts to change the bail law in Albany. The votes of the middle-class’s representatives are needed to give judges the ability to keep dangerous repeat criminals in jail, and the mentally ill in hospitals. Kiernan should apologize to the family and friends of Michelle Go who was pushed into an oncoming train, off a Times Square platform, by a mentally ill homeless man; for not asking Wylde if she thinks pushing moderate middle-class voters out of the city, will increase the chances of more New Yorkers put in harm’s way from sick people because the bail law does not give judges the right to hospitalize them.
New Yorkers journalist Ken Auletta; from Coney Island, said “the goal of a journalist was to “Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Kiernan’s interview with Wylde and others was not about afflicting the comfortable, it was more like a sycophant trying to win favor with the powerful. NY1 Pat Kiernan and his fellow journalists have abandoned the city’s middle class. Being a reporter used to be a middle-class trade, a low-status job. Journalists used to live in, be part of working-class neighborhoods, and were paid working-class salaries. The NY1 news reader Kiernan just bought a two-million-dollar home in a trendy Brooklyn neighborhood, which was gentrified out of the middle-class three decades ago. When a group of women reporters sued NY1 the lawyer for reporter Roma Torre claimed she is significantly underpaid relative to her comparable male peer — which is Pat Kiernan according to the NY Post. NY1 would not release Kiernan’s contract to the lawyer, but the internet reports his salary between two and four million a year. Reporters like Kiernan used to see themselves as outside of power, demanding justice for the middle-class, the little guy. Throughout the course of the 20th Century, there was a status revolution in Journalism. Journalists became an elite highly paid profession that requires more acting ability than the past generation of middle-class reporters driven to fight for the values of the working class they came from. The late Village Voice reporter, Jack Newfield, grew up in Bed Stuy in a single-family, attended CUNY’s Hunter College, and was known for his yearly investigation features which included the 10 Worst Landlords, 10 Worst Judge, and his book about corruption in the Koch administration called “City for Sale.” Jimmy Breslin grew up in Queens, Pete Hamill in the then working-class Park Slope Brooklyn. WWII veteran Gabe Pressman grew up in a tenement building in the South Bronx. Andrew W. Cooper from Brooklyn, founder of The City Sun, a weekly newspaper that covered issues of interest to African Americans. Kiernan from Canada used his position as a news reader on NY1 in failed attempts to become a game show host. News readers are now calling themselves journalists when in reality they are just reading what someone else wrote. Breslin used his journalist job to try to save NYC by running for public office on a platform of making the city into the 51st State. A bunch of rich people in charge of the NY Times, keep telling New Yorkers who have lived in the city all their lives, that their fear of crime is overblown: “Fear of Crime Transcends Data Along One New York Subway Line’s 31 Miles, Eric Adams Can’t Stop Talking About Crime. There Are Risks to That.” The problem is the paper of record which reported last month that shootings were down, did not report that in July shootings were up 13% in July 2022 to July 2021.
Reporters have abandoned the working class they used to belong to, ascending to the ranks of the elite. The elite reporters are using a liberal news narrative, to distract from how they benefit from income inequality in America. A guilt trip by a privileged generation of reporters has caused the abandonment of the city’s middle-class, and the journalistic ethics of the founder of NYC-style journalism, John Peter Zenger. Zenger, a printer, who was arrested in 1734 by the British, for writing a newspaper telling the truth to NYC residents about how King George II appointed Colonial Governor William Cosby was mistreating them. Watching Kiernan’s deadpan style is like watching MTV’s news reader, celebrity Kurt Loder. While watching another NY1 reporter Errol Louis, reminds one of the men who spun the plates on a stick on the old Ed Sullivan Show, who knew the plates would eventually fall. Both men’s styles would be fine if they informed New Yorkers as Zenger did 330 years ago, about what their government was doing to them, which they don’t. Jewish Voice: In the Scripted News Era, Journalists & Elected Officials Become Actors, NY Special Interests Pull the Strings. Kiernan is incapable of telling New Yorkers what is really going on, others won’t or don’t care to.
When Kiernan recently interviewed NYC Transit President Richard Davey, the boss of the city subways said public safety is the rider’s top concern. Davey told Kiernan that all the stations and 100 trains now have cameras. In 2005, the London subway system installed closed circuit TV to catch terrorists and criminals before they commit crimes, in all of its stations and now has live close circuit TV on most of its trains. The MTA tried for years to implement a similar live TV close circuit camera system on the NYC subways, spending billions, but only came up with cameras connected to tape machines that only provide evidence (if the camera is not broken) to the NYPD after a crime is committed. After starting in the 1990s the MTA was not able to install cameras in every station until early this year, 30 years after they started the project. That even beats in delay time at the moment of the decades-delayed MTA Grand Central Station Eastside LIRR access project. Kiernan did not ask Davey why the subways only have cameras on 0.1% of their 6418 subway cars. He also did not ask Davey why with new technology the MTA is still not able to build a closed-circuit TV network as London already has with less advanced Wi-Fi. For 20 years, close-circuit TV has given the London subway system the ability to stop crimes before they happen. Kiernan did not ask Davey what his plan was to remove the homeless from the subways. Kiernan did not ask Davey what the MTA can do about jumping the turnstiles, in light of a 55% increase of attacks on police officers trying to stop fare jumpers. The MTA loses $119 a year on fare evasion. Before the widely watched video of a cop knocked down, punched, and locked in a bear hug by a 15-year-old raging for several minutes. Jewish Voice: The MTA’s Subway Mismanaged Cameras System Needs Elon Musk Skills to Stop Crimes Before They Occur.
The MTA and the Elected Officials Spin Public Relations While the City Suffers With Increased Subway Crime and Costs
Despite the hype as an MTA rescue fund, the one billion in revenue brought in by CP will have no effect on the $70 billion in debt the MTA is now carrying. The mismanagement and the increasing debt of the MTA are not the fault of powerless leaders of that authority that come and go. They are just highly paid puppets for the elected officials pulling their strings.
Dozens of people have cycled through high-level jobs, including many who left to work for contractors who do business with the MTA. The CEOs of the MTA and the subways are hired for their public relations skills. The MTV CEOs hire an army of spin doctors to help them, fiddle for the media while Rome (the trains) burns. When news recently came out that subway crime has risen by 50% and some scheduled 100 years old single replacements were being delayed, the authority changed the news coverage by speeding up the CP roll-out. At the same time as the CP speed up, the media widely used another MTA press release about providing cell phone service to NY/s subway tunnels over the next 10 years. The media never blames the Oz-like Albany politicians behind the green screen, who allow the mismanagement and out-of-control borrowing to continue.
The Press has Not Informed New Yorkers: Exploding MTA Borrowing Will Cause Fares to Go Up, Service Cuts, After this Year’s Election
CP is clearly not enough to cover the MTA’s exploding deficit, fare hikes are coming, but an inconvenient truth to mention in a state election year. The State Comptroller is already hinting at this. Comptroller DiNapoli’s audit reports on the MTA warns of a growing debt being kicked down the road.
The media has not covered how and why the MTA became a financial junkie, addicted to leverage borrowing for its capital and operating costs. That became necessary because of the state agencies’ decades of systemic mismanagement and elected officials’ abusive misuse of its budget for vanity projects. Adding one billion in CP revenue to a broken agency is chump change, it does not make the authority perform better or stop politicians from using it as a piggy bank. Those supporting CP should have demanded changes in the MTA to make it more accountable to the riding public needs. The media has ignored audit reports from the Controller’s office warning for years of the dangers of MTA’s leverage borrowing addiction.
NYS Comptroller’s Report: “Despite unprecedented federal aid and better-than-expected state tax revenues, the MTA continues to plan to use borrowing techniques that push difficult financial decisions into the future and could leave less money to pay for services, according to NYS Comptroller DiNapoli’s annual report on the MTA’s debt. If riders do not return faster (only 60% have) than the MTA projects, or if new sources of revenue are not found, rising debt payments could force the MTA to close future budget gaps through service cuts, greater than planned fare hikes, or delays to capital projects, the report concludes.”
The Comptroller also warned that the end of the federal COVID bailout money in the next two years will lead to MTA service cuts. A bad year on Wall Street, a reduction in NY’s tax base caused by people and businesses leaving the city, and inflation will lead to additional MTA cuts. Blame Albany and the media for the coming MTA’s financial implosion. The amount of outstanding long-term debt issued by the MTA increased from $25.8 billion in 2010 to $40.1 billion in 2021. In the 1980s when the U.S. Senate was in GOP control; NY Republican U.S. Senator Al D’Amato spearheaded the effort to pass a bill in the senate to bring federal transit funds to the MTA. If the U.S. House is in control of the GOP in 2023, there will only be one federal member of the house elected in NYC, Staten Island, and Brooklyn Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis to fight for additional funding for the subways. If the supermajority congressional redistricting lines were not thrown out by the N.Y. Court of Appeals, there probably be none. If the late great journalist Breslin were still around, he would use the headline in his famous book about the 1962 NY Mets, “Can’t Anyone Here Play This Game Anymore.” Since today’s media is not informing New Yorkers on what a toxic mess their elected officials have made with the subway, the public will not wake up to the problem until the fares are hiked and services are cut next year, after the election.
In 2008 NYC’s Middle Class Was Strong Enough to Stop Congestive Pricing
In 2008 before the middle class started to flee the city, the late Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver and his Brooklyn and Queens delegation viewed congestion fees as a regressive tax that overwhelmingly benefited affluent Manhattanites, killed the CP bill in the Assembly. Now only Assemblyman David Weprin has been put into the role of Sancho Panza to stop CP. He says the former governor hid the state’s permission to impose CP on lower Manhattan, inside the final budget deal that had a lot of goodies (member items) for his colleagues to vote for, Weprin said it was hard for his fellow member to vote against the big ugly (final budget deal), as he did. The newly elected progressive elective officials are anti-car, über alles. pro protected bike lanes. You will not see Weprin on NY1 or in the newspapers anytime soon. Not only are the gentrification progressives not protecting the city’s middle class, they are also blocking any changes to the bail law, which will reduce subway crime and allow workers to return to their office buildings owned by Partnership members. Under Wylde’s leadership, the Partnership is pushing the middle class out of the city and replacing them with progressives who not only want to keep the liberal bail law, they increase taxes on big businesses and the rich. Some members of the Partnership are asking if Wylde has the correct or any strategy to fix the city.
Charles Gasparino Twitter @CGasparino: SCOOP: @NYC Mayor Adams’s request, @Partnership4NYC, its CEO members will meet Thurs to discuss the crime wave following the tragic death of @GoldmanSachs employee Daniel Enriquez. The NYC biz community wants more police on subways.
The MTA isn’t proposing any new lines to southeast Queens or Staten Island, which they have in the past for the public accepting CP. Mayor Bloomberg when he pushed for CP promised to improve connections to underserved transit deserts. Now the goal is seemingly to make up for the MTA’s own capital shortfalls. 40% of the CP revenue will pay down the bond fees. MTA bond fees will go up with inflation and the expected $2.5 deficit in 2025.
Unions, Transit Contractors, and Elected Officials Use the MTA as a Pay-to-Play Pinata
A report mandated by Albany legislators reformers compared how much the MTA spends to run trains and buses against other transit agencies across the globe, including systems in Taiwan, Paris, and London. shows New York’s sky-high costs are due in part to its transit workers being the world’s highest-paid. Governors over the decades deliver sweetheart contracts to the main MTA union Transit Workers Union (TWU) in exchange for campaign contributions (Cuomo received $165,000 from TWU) and votes from TWU which is known for turning out its member’s in the city’s low turnout elections. All public officials, not just former Governor Cuomo have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions from MTA unions and contractors Since Mr. Cuomo took office in 2011, his campaigns have received more than $3 million from M.T.A. contractors and industry groups that represent them. Donors with ties to the M.T.A., including board members, their employers, and transit unions, have donated an additional $1.5 million. According to a NY Times 2017 story, politicians in control of the MTA have pressured the authority into signing agreements with labor groups and construction companies that obligated the authority to pay far more than it had planned.
Members of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) got a total of 19% pay raises between 2009 and 2016, compared with 12 percent for the city’s teachers union over the same period. The contract, which covers May 16, 2019, to May 15, 2023, and more than 37,000 employees compounded a 9.8 percent wage increase that will cost more than $1 billion through 2023, $129 million more than included in the MTA’s November 2020-2023 Financial Plan. Each of three union contracts signed by the MTA from 2009 to 2017 cost more than the M.T.A. anticipated, forcing it to take money from other parts of the budget. The 2014 deal, which cost $525 million, was funded by tapping into a pay-as-you-go account that was intended to pay for capital work. Subway workers, including managers and administrative personnel, now make an average of about $155,000 annually in salary, overtime, and benefits, according to a Times analysis of data compiled by the federal Department of Transportation. That is far more than in any other American transit system; the average in cities like Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington is less than $100,000 in total compensation annually. The pay for managers alone is even more extraordinary. The nearly 2,500 people who work in the NY subway administration make, on average, $240,000 in salary, overtime, and benefits. The average elsewhere is less than $115,000. The rate at which NY transit employees are on workers’ compensation is also higher than in other cities — and the report notes the average time workers take off for injuries more than doubled from 2010 to 2019.
The Media has Completely Missed How the MTA Became Hooked on Borrowing Making Billions for Bond Sellers
Governor Pataki got the MTA hooked with debt borrowing when he engineered a deal with creditors that brought in quick cash but locked the authority into paying $5 billion in interest that it otherwise never would have had to pay. Governor Pataki allowed Bear Stearns to refinance $12 billion of MTA’s bond debt. The bankers and bond underwriters — many of whom had ties to Mr. Pataki or had donated to his campaign — earned an estimated $85 million, according to the NY Times. The amount of outstanding long-term debt issued by the MTA more than tripled between 2000 and 2020, reaching $38 billion, and is projected to approach $47 billion by 2023 (including $2.9 billion debt for operating expenses). Debt service is projected to reach $3.8 billion by 2028, $1.1 billion more than in 2020. The share of total revenue needed to pay debt service is projected to reach 23% in 2024, after averaging 16% over the past decade. The MTA’s projections do not include debt service on $6.9 billion of bonds it now plans to issue for the 2020-2024 capital program. The MTA makes millions for bankers who handle the bond sales. Now borrowing will go up as farebox revenues fall:
“May 2022 data indicates that MTA ridership and farebox revenue have not recovered from the pandemic’s impact on mass transit ridership, which for the LIRR is below 60% of pre-pandemic ridership levels. Currently, MTA farebox revenues are 31.9% of revenues, an 8% decrease from the budgeted 40%, and 39% below the 2019 farebox revenues which were 52.8% of total revenues. The Achilles heel to the MTA budget is the historical overreliance of farebox revenues to total budgeted revenue.” Martin R. Cantor, CPA, Ed.D. Director of the LI Center for Socio-Economic Policy
The MTA Outrageous Costs for Building New Subway Lines, Construction Projects are Ignored by the Media
The media has paid scant attention to the MTA’s operating costs, meaning the cost of running and maintaining the subway system rather than expanding it. New York City Transit’s subway operating costs are high by both domestic and international standards—about 60 percent higher than those of the largest European systems, and 90 percent higher than in Chicago. The capital budget project costs and delays are ridiculous, and continue because nobody is ever held responsible.
The LIRR extension to Grand Central Station started being built in 2007 and was planned to be open in 2009, at a total cost of $3.4 billion. The cost for the two miles of connecting tract between Queens and Manhattan is now $12 billion and the Eastside connection is still not open. The extension of the number 7 line to Hudson Yards is the most expensive mile of subway track on earth, at a cost of $2.5 billion, $1.5 billion per mile. A 24-block extension of the 2nd Avenue Subway, with three stops, costs $4.4 Billion or $2.5 Billion per mile. The MTA wasted $31 million dollars to build an extra Times Square Staircase. The MTA wasted $4 Billion on remaking the Fulton Street Station in Manhattan. Cuomo also pressured the authority to spend tens of millions of dollars to study outfitting MTA bridges with lights capable of choreographed displays, including the still named Mario M. Cuomo bridge. Comptroller Stringer’s Audit revealed widespread mismanagement, waste, and service failures in MTA’s Access-A-Ride Program. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers were left stranded by the MTA-run Access-A-Ride; 2.5 million pick-up and drop-off times may have been manipulated to show more favorable performance; Less than 50% of Access-A-Ride car service’s trips were on-time. The MTA spent billions of dollars on Opulent Station Makeovers and other projects that did nothing to boost service or reliability; while leaving the actual movement of trains to rely on a 1930s-era signal system with fraying, cloth-covered cables. Cuomo cut signal funding to pay for vanity projects like the 2nd Ave line.