MTA Board Approves 2010-2014 Capital Program

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On Wednesday, September 23, 2009, the MTA Board approved the 2010-2014 Capital Program which will now be sent to the Capital Program Review Board (CPRB) in Albany.  The CPRB is responsible for reviewing and approving the MTA’s Capital Program.  The CPRB is made up of four voting members: Senator Craig Johnson (D-Nassau), Assemblymember Keith Wright (D-Manhattan), NYC Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler representing Mayor Bloomberg, and Acting NY State DOT Commissioner Stan Gee representing Governor Paterson.  Skyler does not vote on LIRR and MNR capital issues.  There are also two non-voting CPRB members: Charles Fuschillo (R-Long Island) representing the Senate Minority; and Lou Tobacco (R-Staten Island) representing the Assembly Minority.  The CPRB has 90 days to review and approve the components of the MTA Capital Plan.

Program Highlights

$18.7 Billion Total Core Program:

$13.8 Billion  NYC Transit — signals/communications, stations, buses, tracks, subway cars

$1.718 Billion  LIRR — track, rolling stock, signals/communications

$1.179 Billion  MNR — shops/yards, rolling stock, track/structures

$325 Million  MTA Bus — buses, facilities

$5.7 Billion Total Network Expansion:

$1.5 Billion — Second Avenue Subway

$2.9 Billion — East Side Access (ESA)

$1.3 Billion — Regional investments, ESA rolling stock/liability reserve, Miscellaneous

$1.5 Billion — Security and safety program, Interagency

$25.5 Billion Total 2010-2014 CPRB Program

There is another $2.5 billion allotted to Bridges and Tunnels (B&T), but this agency does not fall under the review of the CPRB.  Adding in B&T brings the total 2010-2014 MTA Capital Program to $28,080 Billion.

The PCAC reviewed the proposed plan and had extensive discussions with MTA staff about its content.  We are pleased that many of the comments and suggestions we made were incorporated into the document.  Both MNR and NYC Transit produced plans that were endorsed by their rider Councils, MNRCC and NYCTRC, respectively.  However, the LIRRCC was deeply concerned with four key areas in the LIRR proposal: 1) determination of “state of good repair”; 2) lack of a proactive parking and station access program; 3) lack of support for community station area planning; 4) and failure to include the Main Line Corridor’s “third track” project.  PCAC was able to get MTA/LIRR to drop the phrase “state of good repair” whose use was problematic at best.  There was also success in getting the LIRR to commit a small portion of the funds from the parking budget to support planning grants for qualified municipalities interested in fostering transit-oriented development; the Council also garnered a commitment by LIRR to develop a stategy for using parking facilities funds based not only on station ridership and multi-modal characteristics, but also in the context of station area planning and improved access.  Unfortunately, PCAC and other advocacy groups were unable to persuade LIRR to include Main Line Corridor’s “third track” project in this capital plan.

With the noted refinements, however, all three Councils were able to support the proposed $28.8 billion Capital Program.  The biggest challenge now is to convince Albany legislators to fund the estimated shortfall in needed resources.  MTA’s proposed funding plan shows only $18.1 billion available (with the lion’s share coming from Federal sources at $8.4 billion and $2.5 billion from B&T dedicated funds).  That leaves a deficit of $9.9 billion that the State must grapple with.  For the future prosperity of the region, investment in transit needs must be a priority — not only for the State, but also at the Federal and local levels as well.

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