LOWER MANHATTAN, Manhattan (WABC) -- The MTA laid out its vision for the next 20 years, highlighting ways to improve and expand one of the world's biggest transit systems, but a major hurdle moving forward will be funding.
The agency, already facing a $3 billion budget shortfall as early as 2025, warns that without any help, it will be crippled.
Janno Lieber spoke to the Eyewitness News Mornings @ 10 team about the 20-year plan:
Part of the MTA's presentation on its 20-year assessment Wednesday was a long list of needs and wants, which riders have too.
"I want to see air conditioning in the subway trains. Especially like the stations," said one student who rides the subway.
That's something that would require more power substations, which is on the needs list.
"They're some trains that have issues with the doors or move really slow sometimes," subway rider Isaac said.
That's also a need. That would include the replacement of subway cars which are on average 36 years old.
An urgent need for Metro-North is rebuilding the Park Avenue Viaduct, and part of Grand Central Terminal.
"We are trying to make sure that everybody understands these decrepit aging conditions," MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber said. "We are providing great service every day. Best in 10 years. But the Grand Central train shed is falling apart."
Then there's the wants list.
"North, south trains in Brooklyn would just be, chefs kiss," subway rider Jael said.
That would be the Interborough Express, which made the list of expansions the MTA is considering.
So did Metro-North service to Penn Station and expanding the Second Avenue subway to meet the 1 train on 125th Street.
But the MTA says repairs and resiliency investments come first. There has to be money left.
"83% of our current capital program is rebuilding and improving the existing system," said Jamie Torres-Springer, President of MTA Construction and Development. "After you've taken care of those critical needs, the meat and potatoes, then you get to the additional potential for expansion."
Congestion pricing funding is expected to cover at least those critical needs in the capital plan for the next few years, but after that, it's not clear.
The information from Wednesday's report will be used to develop that capital plan with all the costs factored in. That's due out next year.