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There's Finally a Funding Plan for the Cash-Strapped MTA

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Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have finally agreed on funding for the next five years of the $26.1 billion MTA Capital Program. The agreement, announced Saturday and reported by the Journal and the Times, calls for the state to chip in $8.3 billion while the city will put in $2.5 billion, making it the largest ever investment in MTA infrastructure. According to a statement from the Mayor's office It will fund "vital investments to renew, enhance and expand the MTA network." At $26.1 billion, the program is still $700 million short, but the gap will be filled by "MTA efforts to seek further efficiencies or necessary program reductions." Brace yourself for possible service cuts.

The deal means the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway is likely a go, as well as plans to buy 940 new subway cars and replace 84 miles of track and six miles of tunnel lighting, plus the entire fleet of the Staten Island Railway and close to 1,500 buses, NY1 reported. The first phase of the Second Avenue Subway, currently under construction, runs the Q train through an existing station at Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street to new stations on Second Avenue at 72nd, 86th, and 96th streets. The second phase will run through new stations at 106th and 116th streets, terminating at the 125th Street 4/5/6 station.

"Our transit system is the backbone of New York City's, and our entire region's, economy. That is why we're making an historic investment – the City's largest ever general capital contribution – while ensuring that NYC dollars stay in NYC transit, and giving NYC riders and taxpayers a stronger voice," Mayor de Blasio said in a statement.

"The MTA is the lifeblood of New York, helping millions of people travel throughout the city and the surrounding suburbs, and fueling one of the largest economies on the globe," said Gov. Cuomo. "Our challenge is not only to help the system continue to fuel the region's growth, but to keep up with and respond to that growth as it happens."

"Almost three years ago, as the floods of Superstorm Sandy receded, the MTA's system sprang back to life, and so did New York City and the entire region. That storm dramatically demonstrated two important truths: the absolutely essential role that the MTA's integrated transit system plays in the regional economy, and the challenges of keeping the assets of such a trillion-dollar system running safely and reliably," said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast. "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."

Transportation advocates including the Riders Alliance, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Transportation Alternatives, and the Pratt Center for Community Development all hailed the announcement, as did the Transport Workers Union also praised the deal.
· Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, and MTA Chairman Prendergast Announce Agreement on Funding for MTA Capital Program [Official]
· New York City and State Reach Agreement on M.T.A. Capital Plan [NYT]
· New York City, State Reach Deal on Transit-Projects Funding [WSJ]
· MTA May Actually Get More Money From the State and City [Curbed]
· All MTA coverage [Curbed]