NYC Ferry costing taxpayers millions, audit finds

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Thursday, July 7, 2022
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NYC Ferry may be a good deal for riders, but taxpayers are paying a heavy price - even higher than previously reported, according to a new audit.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- NYC Ferry may be a good deal for riders, but taxpayers are paying a heavy price - even higher than previously reported, according to a new audit.

NYC comptroller Brad Lander says the city's Economic Development Corporation underreported a quarter-billion dollars in ferry-related expenses.

The audit found E.D.C. racked up $758 million in expenditures, but only reported $534 million in its audited financial statements and other records.

The audit also found the city subsidy-per-ride is double the original estimate of $6.60, and closer to $13.20.

The audit also found several E.D.C. decisions, including buying vessels at higher than market cost and the early termination of the East River contract, resulted in $66 million in unnecessary expenses.

The Comptroller made 11 recommendations aimed at improving oversight over the ferry system. E.D.C. agreed to some but not all.

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted a response on Wednesday:

"We haven't had a chance to review the full report yet, so I can't comment on any specifics, but 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. The ferry system's continuation and growth is vital for New York City. We need more affordable, accessible transit options connecting the five boroughs now more than ever. I plan on fighting for better funding for our subways, buses, and ferries in Congress."

Meanwhile, Mayor Adams' spokesperson said the de Blasio administration "rushed" NYC Ferry and that "there is room for improvement."

The Comptroller's audit of the NYC Ferry is available here.

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