New York City

NYC to MTA: Let’s work to fill $14 billion funding gap

July 22, 2015 Associated Press
Can the city and the MTA close the funding gap? AP Photo/Richard Drew, File
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Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration wants the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to work with New York City to figure out how to fund a $14 billion gap in the transportation agency’s capital plan.

First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris sent a letter dated Tuesday to MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast.

“We are ready to sit down today and have a full and frank discussion about comprehensive funding options for this essential engine of the state’s economy,” the letter said. “What we cannot do is stand by and allow the future of the state, the region and the city to be threatened by our inability to come together.”

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The MTA’s 2015-2019 capital plan calls for $32 billion in projects, of which $14 billion needs funding sources.

The letter pointed out the city already contributes 70 percent of the MTA’s operating budget through taxes, tolls and fares. It said options to consider included increasing state and local jurisdiction financial aid to the MTA.

It also pointed out how little control the city has over the MTA, which is a state agency controlled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo and de Blasio have had an ongoing feud.

“As we have said before, the call for the city to increase its contribution to the MTA’s costs reflects the fact that the city is the primary beneficiary of its services,” said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan.

“While we welcome the City’s first response to the proposal the MTA made some 12 weeks ago, in the meantime the MTA has been working closely with Governor Cuomo’s office on a plan to meet the essential capital needs of a system that is critical to the city’s daily life and economic strength of the region,” said Donovan. “The paltry amount the city has provided for decades — especially given the city’s recent historic surplus — can’t continue if we are to maintain a safe and reliable transit network, let alone improve and expand rider services.”

In the executive budget, de Blasio increased city funding to the MTA to $657 million. The MTA asked the city in May to again increase its contribution.

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