Also Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptrollers Weekly News

A Sign of Progress: New Yorkers
Gradually Return to the Subway

A year ago this week the New York City subway system shut down overnight for disinfecting – its first closure in 115 years. This unprecedented move was intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

With stay-home orders in effect, numerous industries had turned to telecommuting, dramatically reducing the number of daily straphangers depending on the system. However, many New Yorkers did not have that luxury. As a result, ridership remained much higher in lower-income neighborhoods throughout the height of the pandemic compared to wealthy ones.

In March, Comptroller DiNapoli released an interactive subway ridership dashboard to show the impact of COVID-19 on the subway system across the city and to show which areas commuters are returning from.

New data suggests signs of a gradual return to normalcy. Citywide, April 2020 ridership was just 8.3 percent of what it was in April 2019. In April 2021, ridership eclipsed 2.1 million in a day, returning to 31 percent. Our most recent update now provides data on the ridership changes at every subway station across the system. As New York fully opens up and 24/7 service resumes later this month, numbers across the system are likely to rebound more. The MTA is paramount to the state’s economic recovery.

While this is a positive sign for the MTA, the authority was already financially burdened pre-pandemic, and now faces significant hurdles and tough decisions ahead. Without new sources of revenue or savings, its ambitious capital program to repair, modernize and expand the transit system for riders is in jeopardy of being cut.

Comptroller DiNapoli continues to report on the MTA’s debt and the pandemic’s overall impact on New York City’s key economic drivers. View the full series of MTA reports.

Gaming Commission Slow to Collect Casino Fees

The state Gaming Commission has made only limited progress fixing problems with its monitoring of casinos, especially with its failure to collect millions in oversight fees from casinos, according to a follow-up report released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The problems were first identified in an audit DiNapoli released in 2020 that found the commission had not collected $13 million owed by casinos.

Overtime at State Agencies Reached All-Time High in 2020

The total cost of overtime in 2020 at state agencies reached an all-time high at more than $850 million, continuing an upward trend over the last decade and spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Total overtime hours of 19 million increased 3.9 percent and total overtime earnings increased 5.5 percent from 2019. Overtime earnings comprised 4.8 percent of total payroll spending in 2020, an increase from the 4.2 percent average from 2011 through 2019.

State Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released the following local government audits:

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