After much public quibbling, the city and state governments have reached an agreement that will allow them to fund the MTA's capital program. See what we can accomplish when we put down our swords/Twitter fingers?
New York State will contribute $8.3 billion to the program, while the city will chip in $2.5 billion. The $26.1 billion program is still about $700 million short, but the MTA says they'll manage to close that hole by making some "necessary program reductions," which hopefully won't short the G train.
The MTA's capital program has been a big source of tension between Cuomo and de Blasio of late—the agency had been pushing de Blasio to invest an unprecedented $3.2 billion, while the governor's office pledged a requested $8.3 billion to the fund. The city, meanwhile, offered $657 million, arguing that the state should shoulder the majority of the burden. There were some harsh words from all three parties, but thankfully now everything seems copacetic. "Today, with agreement on the largest Capital Program ever committed to the future of the MTA, we take a giant step toward making sure that this one-of-a-kind jewel of a system will continue doing what it must - keeping New York and the region moving, and moving ahead," MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said in a statement. "We are grateful to the State and City for making possible the largest MTA Capital Program in its history."
The deal, which requires funds not be diverted from the program, will also allow the city representatives to work with the MTA board on city-related projects, while suburban representatives will work closely with the agency on projects related to them. In a statement today, Mayor de Blasio praised the agreement for "ensuring that NYC dollars stay in NYC transit, and giving NYC riders and taxpayers a stronger voice."
TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen also heralded the deal. "Over three thousand TWU members earn their livelihoods keeping our transit system in a state of good repair, and if the failure to properly fund continued, it would have hurt workers and riders alike, to say nothing of the long term negative impact on the region’s economy," he said in a statement, adding that the union's "aggressive media campaign" targeting Mayor de Blasio helped nudge the two parties to come to an agreement.
The funding agreement is also supported by riders' advocate groups like the Riders Alliance, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Transportation Alternatives, and Pratt Center for Community Development. "After a year in limbo, today Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and Chairman Prendergast have reached a funding agreement on the MTA's 2015-2019 capital program," they said in a joint statement. "This is good news for the millions of daily transit riders from the region who rely on buses, subways and rail to get to work, home and services. It's also good news for the thousands of workers and businesses statewide whose jobs are supported and economic activity is generated by the supplies and labor needed to fulfill each 5 year program."
Robert C. Lieber, Chairman of the Urban Land Institute New York, applauded the MTA for "committing to collaborate with the city and the suburbs on city- and suburban-funded projects, an approach that should be used for all MTA capital programs going forward.”