Home Asides Federal contributions to MTA megaprojects lagging

Federal contributions to MTA megaprojects lagging

by Benjamin Kabak

Despite a request by President Obama to fulfill full-funding obligations, Congress has authorized slightly less than promised for the MTA’s big-ticket items. As Rep. Carolyn Maloney announced yesterday, in the 2012 budget, House and Senate leaders have granted the MTA $186,566,000 for the Second Ave. Subway and $203,424,000 for the East Side Access Project. Some House Republicans had tried to introduce significant funding cuts, but a bipartisan effort led to the restoration of nearly all of the promised dollars.

Despite these grants, the MTA had been counting on more. The President had asked for $197 million for SAS and $215 million for ESA. Some House drafts of the appropriations bill would have cut those mounts by 21 and 47 percent respectively. These cuts, in the 5-9 percent range instead, are much more palatable. It is, as yet, unclear how the lesser grants will increase the MTA’s two megaprojects.

“These funding levels are not ideal, but the MTA should be able to keep the Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access on track with the amounts provided. These desperately-needed transit projects are creating tens of thousands of jobs literally beneath our feet,” Maloney said in a statement. “At a time when pretty much everyone agrees that job creation should be our number-one priority, I’m relieved that adequate federal funding for two of the best job-creation engines in the New York area has been included in the 2012 budget. Transit projects are among the best economic stimulus programs around – indeed, every dollar spent on public infrastructure boosts our economy by an estimated $1.59.”

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Bolwerk November 16, 2011 - 1:28 pm

Translation: Republikans want to cut their cronies’ taxes, so they need New York metropolitan area rail riders’ money to make up the shortfall they want to create. If they don’t get it, the economy will fail and we’ll be forced back to the stone age riding dinosaurs like Adam and Eve.

Larry Littlefield November 16, 2011 - 1:36 pm

Just remember, the MTA spent years going through federal hoops to get these projects approved. The federal contribution is, what, 30% and going down? The cost increase due to the delays is at least that.

And just remember what a “full funding agreement” means. It is a limit on the federal contribution. For road projects, the Feds cover over-runs.

Alon Levy November 16, 2011 - 5:15 pm

every dollar spent on public infrastructure boosts our economy by an estimated $1.59

Is Maloney sure it’s $1.59 and not $1.5875? Maybe she should cite more precise figures…

Hank November 16, 2011 - 5:23 pm

Amazing that we spend tens of billions on highways yet have to fight tooth and nail for every transit project. A $200 million ear mark for a bridge to nowhere named after a corrupt republican congressman anyone?

Bruce M November 17, 2011 - 1:31 pm

I don’t think we have any other local politician who has been as an enduring, consistent, and vocal champion for securing federal funding for the SAS as Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. She has earned my vote many times over.

Rick November 26, 2011 - 1:34 am

She gets my vote, too. She’s doing good and vital work.


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