The MTA’s Capital Quicksand

This article appeared on The Brooklyn Quarterly May 4, 2015.

Image: Neil Reilly
Image: Neil Reilly

The New York City subway system is one of our city’s defining characteristics. The subway is New York City’s circulatory system; without it, the city’s geography, population, and economy would never have reached today’s magnitudes. But the state government, which overtook the subways when they became insolvent as private enterprise in the 1960s, continues to neglect the needs of the system.

In late April, the New York Times ran an editorial to this effect. As everyone who follows the MTA knows, the agency has a $15 billion gap in its next capital budget. Many don’t know, though, that the MTA carries a $34 billion debt load, which grows every year under increased pressure to make debt service payments. The Times piece, which endorsed the sensible Move New York transportation overhaul plan, was tepid when it came to chastising those responsible for the chronic unmet needs of the system.

Keep reading →

New Transparency in the NFL?

090201-F-7552L-008The storm of football-related violent crime this year is pushing questions about the sport’s troubled relationship with domestic violence into the national consciousness. Now the National Football League is on its heels after being out-maneuvered by almost everyone in America and risks losing sponsors, which is the only wake-up call it will heed. I will leave the broad-scale social commentary to others, but have noticed several aspects of the league’s response to its players’ behavior that deserve scrutiny. Keep reading →

Police State

MadisonPoliceIn the wake of recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, there has been much discussion of the militarization of law enforcement agencies in the United States. While some reports have focused on the delivery of military-grade equipment to local police departments, TBQ writer Dvora Meyers asked an interesting question: How large are US police forces compared with other nations’ militaries? Keep reading →