In an effort to get to the core of the NFTA's financial problems, NYS Assemblyman Sean Ryan has announced that the New York State Authorities Budget Office (ABO) will begin their audit of the NFTA tomorrow. Ryan set the audit in motion last December when he asked ABO Director, David Kidera, to conduct a thorough review of the NFTA's finances and operations.
Ryan has noted that internal audits by the NFTA are insufficient to address their core problems, thus making the review by the ABO necessary. Earlier this year, the NFTA was faced with a deficit of nearly $15 million. In response, the NFTA announced plans to cut 22 percent of its service routes, which Ryan was successful in preventing. In an attempt to remedy their situation, the NFTA raised fares across the board and made over $7 million in internal cuts.
"I applaud the ABO for agreeing to my request to undertake a review of the NFTA, and I'm glad to see that this audit will begin next week," said Assemblyman Ryan. "The NFTA has historically always been searching for ways to achieve solvency because they are stretched too thin and are not focused on their core mission which is to provide public transportation. I am pleased that the NFTA's new leadership team has made it clear that public transportation is their top priority and I am hopeful that this audit, combined with the new leadership will help to resolve many of the NFTA's problems going forward. An audit by the ABO will help to uncover the real drivers of the NFTA's budget problems, and help them formulate a proper solution."
The operational review team will conduct their audit in Buffalo from July 16th through July 27th. The audit will be a comprehensive review of the NFTA airports, the small boat harbor, and the bus and rail services. The operational review team will collect as much information as possible during their time here and return to Albany. Once there, they will explore the data and see which questions they need to ask on a return trip, which will be conducted shortly thereafter.
"A financial crisis led to the NFTA's initial plan to eliminate dozens of service routes," Ryan added. "Thankfully that plan was eventually scrapped, but unfortunately the NFTA was still forced to raise fares. An audit by the ABO will help the NFTA get their fiscal house in order and return to profitability, so that in the future those who depend on the NFTA for transportation will not be faced with massive route cuts or fare increases."
Entry Image: Courtesy of Cityrails.net