The MTA is cash-strapped at the moment, to say the least. The authority's new emergency plan to fix the New York City subway is estimated to cost upward of $800 million over the next year, and officials are scrambling for ways to pay for it (MTA chairman Joe Lhota and Governor Andrew Cuomo have called for the city to shoulder half of the cost, but Mayor Bill de Blasio isn't exactly having it).
On Thursday, Cuomo unveiled a new initiative that could bring a good deal of precious monies to the MTA: selling sponsorship rights for dozens of subway stations to giant corporations. The new Subway Partnership Program will allow companies to help "further transform" the city's stations and "create a better commuter experience," according to a statement from the governor's office. The program is similar in structure to one that allows businesses to throw financial support behind parks across the city in exchange for branding and advertising opportunities.
In order to become a partner, companies must make a minimum commitment of $250,000. The announcement also comes with the launch of a new program dubbed Adopt-a-Station (you know, like an endangered animal), which allows businesses to spend up to $600,000 to fund maintenance and security efforts at 72 subway stations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. The program requires that for every station a company sponsors in Manhattan, it must also sponsor one in an outer borough.
It's unclear what exactly the companies will get out of the partnership—perhaps the West 4th Street stop will soon be brought to you by Ikea. A handful of companies have already signed on as partners for the program, including Mastercard and Hearst.
If all 72 subway stops up for "adoption" end up drawing $600,000 in fees, that would mean a cool $43.2 million in additional revenue for the MTA. That's a little more than five percent of the cost of the first phase of Lhota's plan to fix the subway over the next year.