Mismanagement of Funds of the NYC Ferry System…
On Wednesday, July 6th, City Comptroller Brad Lander publicly released a report displaying the mismanagement of money for the NYC Ferry system, saying that the government has to pay the remaining balance of each passenger for this pricey ferry to operate.
Lander announced that New York City’s Economic Development Corporation officials under-reported the actual figures by a quarter of a billion dollars. Lander accused the city of hiding information on the ferry’s finances.
In 2017, former Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the ferry prices would be subsidized to $2.75 per trip, with the remaining costs being covered by the government.
Although the ferry ride is reported to cost $6.60 per trip per person in operating costs, Lander says the actual cost of the ride is double. The false reporting and mismanagement of funds have had a hemorrhaging effect.
When presenting the findings of his audit, Lander said, “you can’t have confidence that your city is just telling the truth and providing the information that you need.”
The Economic Development Corporation reported only $534 million in ferry-related expenses rather than $758 million from July 2015 till the end of 2021.
In his presentation, Lander said, “This is a very substantial financial [case of] underreporting and mismanagement. $250 million of underreporting raises a lot of questions and those questions should be asked.”
Still on NYC Ferry System…
Former Mayor de Blasio released a statement following the release of Comptroller Lander’s audit stating that he had no comment because he had not reviewed the full report yet. However, he did say that “If there are issues with underreporting at EDC, or by the ferry operators, that should be remedied and whatever accountability or reforms that are needed should be adopted.”
Andrew Rein, President of the Citizens Budget Commission, told THE CITY, “It is a premium service, like express buses, and it is also a tourist commodity. We should be pricing the ferries accordingly and that should be able to reduce that subsidy.”
A spokesperson for Eric Adams’ Administration said the Mayor acknowledged the need for the ferry, noting it is utilized by thousands of people on a daily basis and referred to it as a “critical transportation opinion.” The mayor has since pledged to look at the New York City Ferry’s costs structure and management.
Following the report, the Comptroller’s office offered recommendations to solve the issue of mismanagement of funds in regards to the ferry system stating there must be a more transparent report, control of cost, and a request for proposal, which Mayor Adams has already agreed to, saying he is open to “creative pricing.”
He added that “NYC Ferry offers a critical transportation option that thousands of people use every day. Concerns around the system’s finances are well known – the prior administration rushed NYCEDC to establish a large and complex ferry system, and we are keenly aware there is room for improvement.
We are working actively on an innovative plan to write a new chapter for the ferry system centered on true financial sustainability and access for communities that need it.”