Russianoff on MTA land sales: "they decided that it was a higher value to help the mayor and the governor"
"The MTA is pretty resistant to this idea. They argue that it will send them down a slippery slope of cutting their capital program. But they're already on that slope. For example, they sold Atlantic Yards"--actually, the Vanderbilt Yard--"and Hudson Yards to developers for way less than their full market value, and that was a capital asset that helped pay for fixing things, and they decided that it was a higher value to help the mayor and the governor."
The bigger picture
Also see Noticing New York blogger Michael D.D. White's comment:
The MTA cutbacks must be looked at in terms of big-picture city development policy. These cutbacks to lower income neighborhoods are equivalent to a form of affordable housing cutback.
...Here we are cutting back on transportation to areas where there is affordable housing (and where more perhaps more could be built). At the same time, as Mr. Russianoff was making the point on the program, we are diverting MTA revenues into the net-loss-to the-public Nets arena and luxury housing developments like Hudson Yards and Atlantic Yards.