Silver on MTA Funding Plan: Wait Until 2012 Budget Debate

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said Albany isn't currently working on any plan to pay for the MTA's capital program, but that it should come up during budget season. Photo: Noah Kazis

The current MTA capital budget is very bad news for transit riders, who are being asked to shoulder $7 billion in debt all on their own. Where can the 8 million daily riders who count on the MTA turn for help?

Not Washington: The just-negotiated debt ceiling deal is likely to mean more cuts to transportation, which would probably translate into more cuts at the MTA.

Not Andrew Cuomo: The governor never even made time for a sit-down meeting with MTA chief Jay Walder, reports the New York Times, much less developed a plan for adequately funding transit. According to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Cuomo is focused on finding funds to pay for roads and bridges instead of tracks and trains.

Not Michael Bloomberg: The MTA’s budget calls for the city to chip in half a billion dollars from the new tax revenue that will be generated by the Second Avenue Subway. The mayor put the kibosh on that idea on his weekly radio show, according to Transportation Nation.

Not the State Senate: Senate Republicans remain focused on eliminating the payroll mobility tax, which brings in $1.5 billion a year for transit. In June, eight Democrats voted with them on a one-house bill to phase out the tax.

That leaves just the State Assembly, which could redeem its decision to kill congestion pricing in 2008 by leading the charge for transit now. After an event today marking the opening of a new entrance to the Fulton Street transit center, Streetsblog asked famously tight-lipped Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver whether there are any discussions about funding the rest of the MTA’s capital plan happening in his chamber.

“There are none going on right now, but I’m sure they’ll be part of the next budget conversation,” Silver said.

  • Eric McClure

    We’re lucky that the 20th century was the American century, ’cause it certainly isn’t going to be the case in this century.  The across-the-board failures of “leadership” are becoming epidemic.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “According to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Cuomo is focused on finding funds to pay for roads and bridges instead of tracks and trains.”
    All that money is going to debt service, too.

    As for Silver, note that the MTA capital plan will run out of money before next year’s budget.

    Why didn’t Streetsblog ask what Silver was doing to locate the hidden $billions from the second set of books, and how much of it would be needed to pay for the 20/50 pension plan he keeps voting for?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Andrew Cuomo Can’t Ignore Transit in 2012

|
New York City transit riders might have taken some small measure of satisfaction from the sight of Carl Kruger resigning from the State Senate earlier this week. Pleading guilty to federal corruption charges, Kruger became the third member of the “Fare Hike Four” — the gang who killed a 2009 plan to fund transit by […]

State Senate Holds Transit Riders Hostage for Road $$$ [Updated]

|
When Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his state budget proposal earlier this year, perhaps the best news for transit riders was the inclusion of $770 million to support the next three years of the MTA capital program. The funding would help pay for maintenance and expansion projects without forcing the MTA to borrow quite so much. And […]

Cuomo’s Capital Budget: $3,400,000,000 for Roads, $0 for MTA

|
Here’s something NYC representatives should be screaming about in Albany: Governor Cuomo’s budget allocates more than $3 billion to roads and bridges but nothing to the MTA’s capital program, according to an analysis released today by the Riders Alliance. The discrepancy amounts to a gigantic transfer of resources from the New York City region to […]