State and City Finally Agree on Funding Plan for the Debt-Ridden MTA

October 12, 2015

After months of squabbling over who’s responsible for funding repairs and expansions of NYC’s transit system, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio reached an agreement on Saturday to keep the MTA’s $26.1 billion, five-year capital plan on track. The state will put in $8.3 billion and the city $2.5 billion (much more than de Blasio’s original $657 million planned contribution). However, Cuomo was clear that their commitment won’t come from increasing taxes and that he’s confident the money can be found in the existing state budget. The city, too, said it would not raise taxes, but rather take $1.9 billion from city funds and the rest from sources that could include development rights or rezoning. The agreement still leaves the MTA $700 million short of its total, but the agency hopes to close the gap by finding “further efficiencies.”

According to the New York Times, “The deal included several conditions proposed by Mr. de Blasio, such as a promise by the state not to use money intended for the capital plan for any other purpose and giving the city say over projects in the five boroughs.” The money will specifically go towards the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway, 940 new subway cars, an entirely new fleet of the Staten Island Railway and its close to 1,500 buses, the replacement of 84 miles of track and six miles of tunnel lighting, countdown clocks, and updated signal systems that would allow more trains to run.

In a statement, the Mayor said, “Our transit system is the backbone of New York City’s, and our entire region’s, economy. That is why we’re making an historic investment – the City’s largest ever general capital contribution – while ensuring that NYC dollars stay in NYC transit, and giving NYC riders and taxpayers a stronger voice. I look forward to continuing to partner with the Governor and the MTA to ensure a transit system that reliably, effectively, and safely serves all of its riders.” The Governor also gave a statement: “The MTA is the lifeblood of New York, helping millions of people travel throughout the city and the surrounding suburbs, and fueling one of the largest economies on the globe. Our challenge is not only to help the system continue to fuel the region’s growth, but to keep up with and respond to that growth as it happens.” As NY1 notes, though, “The deal still needs to be voted on by the MTA board. It will then need to be approved by a state capital review board.”

[Via NYT and NY1]


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