Home MTA MTA Dispatches: Capital funding approved, BusTime on 34th St.

MTA Dispatches: Capital funding approved, BusTime on 34th St.

by Benjamin Kabak

With the MTA Board meetings this morning came a flurry of news. I’ll round it up here.

Albany approves MTA Capital funding plan

While the details of the backroom deals have yet to be released, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has persuaded Republican State Senators to approve the MTA funding requests in his New York state budget. Originally, Dean Skelos and his GOP caucus in the State Senate had stripped all MTA funding from the budget in a show of faux-concern over MTA debt levels. But now, the MTA bond cap will jump by $7 billion, and the state will provide $770 million in new funds.

This move also assuages MTA fears that the feds would rescind favorable funding deals as well, and the authority was pleased with the deal. “The MTA is grateful for Governor Cuomo’s leadership and commitment in recognizing the critical importance of funding mass transit, and in particular fully funding our current Capital Program,” the agency said in a statement. “The MTA Capital Program not only provides for continued investment in our network, but also creates tens of thousands of jobs and generates economic activity across the entire state. With this funding, the MTA will continue to enhance our riders’ experience by investing in the future of our transportation network, as well as bringing our assets up to a state of good repair.”

I’ll have more on the capital plan later, but I do wonder what carrot Cuomo dangled for the Senate to secure these funds.

BusTime heading to 34th St.

Hot on the heels of a successful Staten Island adaptation, the MTA’s BusTime program is making its debut in Manhattan. The in-house option will replace Clever Devices’ expensive pilot in place along 34th St. effective April 8, 2012.

“We’re bringing Bus Time to 34th Street to replace the original pilot developed by technology firm Clever Devices,” Darryl Irick, President of MTA Bus and Senior Vice President NYC Transit’s Department of Buses, said. “However, unlike the previous pilot, the new system was developed in-house by the MTA at a fraction of the cost and allows us to expand Bus Time to more routes more quickly.”

The only drawback to the technology which allows riders with any phone to access bus location information concerns countdown clocks. When the Clever Devices’ system is shut off, the countdown clocks in place at bus shelters along the M34 and M34A SBS routes will no longer be in use.

Over 1100 buses to get security cameras

In an effort to better protect bus drivers, Transit announced today that it is exercising an option for the purchase and installation of cameras for 1150 buses in the fleet. The original contract with UTC Fire and Security called for installation of cameras in 426 buses, and the current option will include hardware and software for monitoring in 12 additional depots. Per Transit, the surveillance system features cameras for the interiors of 40- and 60-foot buses.

“Video surveillance is a vital element of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s ongoing effort to maintain a transit network that is as safe and secure as possible,” NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast said in a statement. “Bus cameras offer a visible crime deterrent, while also providing a state-of-the-art electronic tool that will aid in the investigation and prosecution of criminal activity aboard the vehicle.”

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16 comments

Bolwerk March 26, 2012 - 2:20 pm

Originally, Dean Skelos and his GOP caucus in the State Senate had stripped all MTA funding from the budget in a show of faux-concern over MTA debt levels. But now, the MTA bond cap will jump by $7 billion, and the state will provide $770 million in new funds.

Republikan crocodile tears. If they were actually concerned about the debt – the debt their party hacks’ incompetent policies were mostly if not almost entirely responsible for running up, in fact – they’d work to pay that debt down.

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Justin Samuels March 26, 2012 - 8:02 pm

Oh, it well get paid down. That is backed by MTA revenues. Meaning tolls, fares, and taxes………

If they did less with debt to fund the MTA Capital Plan, the state might have to reallocate funds from elsewhere.

Anyway, an improving economy will help the state and city tax base, so more money further down the road will be relocated to MTA Capital projects. A guy on the transportation committee from Florida has expressed interest in funding future phases of the second avenue subway………

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joe fubeetz March 26, 2012 - 2:39 pm

I bet you $1,000,000 that restoration of weekend X27/28 was part of the package that sold this deal.

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BrooklynBus March 26, 2012 - 6:41 pm

I thought that the #7 extension was entirely funded by the City because the MTA never wanted to build the line in the first place. The article in Crains http://www.crainsnewyork.com/a.....ewsletters states that the funding of the Capital Plan enables the MTA to complete the extension to the far west side among other projects.

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Bolwerk March 26, 2012 - 7:51 pm

It’s plausible that the MTA can’t do any capital work without a capital budget. The city’s funding was probably exclusively the incremental costs of building the line vs. not building it.

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BrooklynBus March 26, 2012 - 8:02 pm

What does that second sentence mean?

Could Crains have made an error? I don’t recall seeing anything about the Flushing extension in te MTAs Capital Budget when I last looked.

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Bolwerk March 27, 2012 - 9:50 am

Presumably, some of the capital budget attributable to the 7 extension is money or resources that would be spent anyway, whether or not there is a 7 extension – whatever ongoing expenditures are needed to even have a capital program, at the very least. Whatever is spent on top of that amount to build the 7 is incremental.

I don’t know if they made an error, and I didn’t look at the budget in years, but it’s possible they just can’t do it if they don’t have a capital program to begin with.

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Justin Samuels March 26, 2012 - 8:05 pm

That could be, or perhaps the MTA is funding cost overruns. And see guys, I told you that just political posturing on the hands of the upstate and suburban republicans. As soon as they got what they want, they’d be more than happy to agree to fund the MTA Capital plan.

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Bolwerk March 27, 2012 - 10:10 am

I don’t think anyone doubted that. Heck, if anything, that’s more offensive than what you see with ground level Republikan voters, where at least they are sincerely ignorant and believe the KoolAid. It means the pols do understand the necessity of MTA capital funding, and are being deliberately evil. When that is done on an interpersonal level, it’s called sociopathic.

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tp March 26, 2012 - 6:48 pm

I thought it was city funded as well, through a TIF on future development in the area? Maybe it’s both?

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Scott Bowen March 27, 2012 - 12:19 am

Have you checked out the countdown clocks? they are so inaccurate. How many times have I seen “Due now” and there is not a bus in sight.

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Kai B March 27, 2012 - 8:23 am

They should have one of those “hack” contests to see who can get them to display the results of the new data source. It’s not rocket science.

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Does Knowing Count? Comparing Urban Bus Tracking Systems and Ridership | MetroFocus | THIRTEEN March 28, 2012 - 8:42 am

[…] percent of Staten Island bus riders were using BusTime, and the program will soon be brought to the 34th Street line in Manhattan. By the end of 2013, the MTA plans to have BusTime installed on every bus in New York City. While […]

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Streetsblog New York City » Council Members Call for Countown Clocks at Bus Shelters December 10, 2012 - 3:41 pm

[…] 2009, bus stops along 34th Street received clocks, which were removed in April 2012 after a series of outages and a losing bid for the citywide bus-tracking contract from the firm […]

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Streetsblog New York City » Council Members Call for Countown Clocks at Bus Shelters December 10, 2012 - 3:41 pm

[…] 2009, bus stops along 34th Street received clocks, which were removed in April 2012 after a series of outages and a losing bid for the citywide bus-tracking contract from the firm […]

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Someone January 25, 2013 - 10:14 am

WOW, it takes this long? Pathetic.

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