NY Deal Will Fund Last 3 Years of MTA Capital Plan
NY Deal Will Fund Last 3 Years of MTA Capital Plan Ed Yourdon, flickr
Four massive New York City transit projects won't run out of funding any time soon. Governor Cuomo struck a deal with legislative leaders Sunday night to fund the last three years of the MTA's five-year capital plan.
The deal guarantees over $13 billion for the Second Avenue subway project, East Side Access for the LIRR, the Fulton Street Transit Center and the expansion of the 7 subway line to the far West Side. It also provides money for new subway and rail cars, new energy-efficient buses, station rehabilitation, enhanced communications and signals, new rail years and new elevators and escalators. The deal is part of the transportation budget bill.
Ya-Ting Liu is with the group Transportation Alternatives, who oppose the deal. She says it would force the MTA to take out over $9 billion in loans.
"Albany's basically passing the buck to riders for the debt that they've incurred," she said.
Liu says more debt could mean higher fares and less service. But construction industry advocate Denise Richardson says this is the perfect time to take out loans.
"The interest rates are quite favorable, and the terms are quite favorable," she said. "And the MTA is seen as an attractive investment for investors."
The MTA's $22.2 billion capital plan initially provided $9.1 billion for the first two years.
Under the agreement, the MTA bond cap will be increased by $7 billion and the state will provide $770 million in new funds over three years. It also calls for a $2.2 billion loan request to the federal Rail Road Infrastructure Fund.
The capital program is expected to generate 20,000 jobs annually and have an overall economic impact of $37 billion.
The Second Avenue Subway is being constructed from 96th Street to 63rd Street in Manhattan and is expected to be in service by September 2016. It is being built to reduce crowding on the Lexington Avenue line.
The Eastside Access Project will provide rail tunnels for the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal on Manhattan's east side. LIRR trains now stop at Penn Station on Manhattan's West Side. Its projected completion date is 2016.
The Fulton Street Transit Center will link 10 subway lines to the PATH and the World Trade Center site and will house 70,000 square feet of retail and office space. It is expected to be completed in June 2014.
The far West Side project, expected to be finished in 2013, will extend the No. 7 subway line from its last stop in Times Square.