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Next Stop: Walt Disney 42nd Street?


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Renting subway trains and stations to corporations such as Disney could raise tens of millions of dollars a year and stave off an upcoming fare hike, a board member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said yesterday.

While the MTA looks to straphangers' purses and additional state aid to close its projected budget gap, board member Norman Seabrook, a former adviser to President Bush and Mayor Bloomberg, said the agency needs to explore more creative ways to keep riders from bearing the brunt of the agency's projected budget gaps.

The MTA announced yesterday that it would seek to bring in an additional $325 million a year through increased subway and bus fares and bridge and tunnel tolls beginning in 2008 to help close a projected budget gap of $1.8 billion in 2010.

Rather than raise subway fares, "I would rather try to sell 42nd Street's subway system underground to Disney for $60 million a year and have them paint it any way that they want to paint it," Mr. Seabrook, president of the city's Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, said at yesterday's board meeting. Trains could be painted with "Lion King" murals or decorated with Yankees insignia for the World Series and bring in tens of millions of dollars a year, he told The New York Sun. A spokesman for the agency declined to comment on Mr. Seabrook's proposal.

Mr. Seabrook said yesterday that he plans to approach Disney to gauge its interest in renting high-traffic subway stations such as Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station before he would vote to approve a fare hike. After painting bleak financial pictures in past summers, the MTA often has ended years with surprise surpluses due to windfalls from real estate taxes.

"We cannot say with 100% certainty that we got it right this time," the executive director and CEO of the MTA, Elliot Sander, told reporters yesterday when asked if the projected budget gaps were real. The MTA reportedly could end this year with a surplus of about $900 million, which could help close next year's projected gap.

MTA board members who will vote on the fare hike in December, meanwhile, said Mr. Seabrook's proposal to rent stations to advertisers had merit. "I'm not interested in selling subway stations," a board member, Mitchell Pally, said. "But if a company wanted to come in and talk to us about advertising, and is willing to pay a sizeable amount of money, I'm willing to look at anything."

The MTA has greatly increased its ad revenue over the past decade, and now takes in about $40 million a year, up from about $4 million 10 years ago, the chief attorney of the Straphangers Campaign, Gene Russianoff, said. He said, however, that advertising revenue couldn't raise the kinds of dollars the MTA needs.

"There are videos at bus shelters and at entrances to stations, and a lot of New Yorkers don't like them," Mr. Russianoff said. Renting trains and stations to companies also raised questions about privatizing public spaces, he said.

Mr. Sander and other MTA officials today are scheduled to begin the difficult task of selling a fare hike to the riding public, talking to skeptical commuters at busy stations throughout the day. To sweeten the cheerless announcement of a fare hike, the MTA said yesterday that it would add service along the L line, as well as to the nos. 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7 lines next year, and hire 200 new cleaners to work throughout the system. The MTA is also asking for $600 million in state aid by 2010.



Active Member

Interesting. NYC is getting pretty big into disney.
I iwsh I could find out more about the possible disney hotel /entertainment venue thats rumoured for manahattan.

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