Land Value + the Financing of Urban Rapid Transit Infrastructure

Urban Planning Thesis

Daniel Dykema

Elliott Sclar, advisor

As federal and state funding sources have declined, transit agencies have sought to find alternate forms of financing for their transit systems. One underutilized strategy is land value taxation (LVT), which has the potential to increase revenues for these agencies. This research looked at how New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority currently utilizes its existing portfolio of real estate holdings to generate revenues. Through an examination of two recent land deals, Atlantic Yards and Hudson Yards, this research examined how the MTA missed out on opportunities to maximize revenues during the negotiation process and how a lack of autonomy reduced the MTA’s ability to improve the outcome of negotiations. Alternate real estate strategies are discussed using Hong Kong’s transit agency as example. Recommendations for the MTA to utilize LVT concepts and possible changes to the MTA’s governance structure are presented.