MTA Operating Budget Basics

Where our money comes from

In total, the MTA will take in $16.725 billion in 2019. The MTA's largest funding source is revenue we collect from customers. 50% of our revenue come from tolls (money paid crossing bridges and tunnels) and Farebox Revenue (money paid to ride subways, buses, and trains). We get some dedicated revenue and subsidies from the cities and states we serve. For a complete look at our current and past budgets, review our financial documents.

A pie chart showing where the MTA receives its revenue from: 38 % Farebox; 12 % Tolls; 36 % Dedicated taxes; 7 % State & Local subsidies; 4% Other revenue; 3% other

Where our dollars go

The MTA’s Operating Budget funds the day-to-day costs to run subways, buses and trains, and operate our seven bridges and two tunnels. The charts below break down where the dollars go by category (left) and by agency (right).

Pie charts depicting how the MTA spends its resources: 32 % Payroll; 24% Non-labor; 16% Debt service; 13% Health & welfare; 8% Pension; 5% Overtime; 2% Other labor; and how the MTA spends its resources by agency: 52% New York City Transit/Staten Island Railway; 16% Debt service; 10% Long Island Rail Road; 8% Metro-North Railroad; 5% MTABC; 5% HQ/FMTAC; 3% Bridges & Tunnels; 1% MTA General Reserve

How we spend money, by category

The majority of our Operating Budget is spent on the more than 70,000 workers required to keep New York moving 24/7. This includes salaries, overtime, retiree pensions, and healthcare. A quarter of the budget goes to Non-Labor costs — things like maintenance equipment, software, and other basic expenses that every business needs to operate efficiently. About a third of non-labor costs are electricity and fuel to run our buses, subways and trains; and paratransit services. The remainder goes to Debt Service — repaying the money we borrowed to help fund the MTA’s capital investments. 

How we spend money, by agency

MTA New York City Transit is the largest agency in terms of number of employees and size of operations. As such, the majority of our spending funds their operations to move 5.2 million riders every day. Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad receive approximately 18% of our funds. Bridges and Tunnels receives approximately 5%. MTA Headquarters and the MTA Business Service Center receive funding essential to run centralized functions including IT, Human Resources, Legal, Marketing, Operations Planning, and executive management. MTA Headquarters also includes the MTA Police Department.

Our financial outlook

Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we are experiencing a drop in ridership that is greater than in the aftermath of the Great Depression. In the face of federal inaction, we are facing unprecedented budget shortfalls in the coming years.

A bar graph showing the projected operating revenue for the MTA from 2020 through 2024. 2020: -$3,198 million; 2021: -$5,844 million; 2022: -$3,485 million; 2023: -$1,776 million; 2024: -$1,959 million.
These are projections of our operating budget deficit for 2020-2024.