New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders agreed to fully fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s five-year capital budget, allowing projects such as the Second Avenue subway to proceed as planned, said a person with direct knowledge of the deal.
The agreement, reached last night, provides $13.1 billion for the final three years of the MTA’s 2010-2014 construction program, which will help the agency complete some of the largest projects in the history of New York, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because a deal hasn’t been formally announced. The state had originally funded only $9.1 billion for the first two years of the plan.
“The MTA is grateful for Governor Cuomo’s leadership and commitment in recognizing the critical importance of funding mass transit,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said in a statement e- mailed today. “With this funding, the MTA will continue to enhance our riders’ experience by investing in the future of our transportation network.”
The borrowing limit for the MTA, the biggest U.S. transit agency, will increase to $41 billion from $34 billion as part of the agreement, according to a bill printed yesterday that will be voted on as soon as Wednesday.
That, along with $770 million in direct state funding, will help the MTA continue work on Manhattan’s Second Avenue subway, the Eastside Access project for the Long Island Rail Road, the Fulton Street Transit Center and the extension of the subway to the far west side, the person said. The funding also will go toward new subway and rail cars, energy-efficient “green” buses, station rehabilitation, enhanced communications and signals, and new rail yards.
The plan includes a $2.2 billion loan request to the federal Rail Road Rehabilitation & Improvement program, the person said. Additional federal funding unlocked by the state’s $770 million commitment will compose the remainder of the increase, the person said.
Cuomo proposed fully funding the MTA’s capital plan as part of his $132.5 billion budget in January. This month, the Republican-controlled Senate approved a budget resolution that cut the $770 million in direct state funding, and denied the $7 billion increase in the authority’s debt cap.
Scott Reif, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail requesting comment on the deal.
The agreement is part of negotiations over Cuomo’s budget. An agreement on the entire spending plan, which would raise education funding by 4 percent, is expected as early as today.
The MTA operates Metro-North commuter rail; the Long Island Rail Road; New York City’s subway and bus systems; and some city bridges and tunnels.
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