Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
2009 Transportation Bill

Mica Transportation Bill Would Devastate New York Transit

12:49 PM EDT on July 8, 2011

The Senate Democrats predict enormous cuts to transit funding in the New York region if the Republican transportation bill passes. Image: Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

Rep. John Mica's proposed transportation bill would take a machete to federal transportation spending, cutting overall transportation funding by a third and entirely eliminating dedicated funds for pedestrian and bike infrastructure.

In New York, the effects would be especially dire. Statewide, the total cuts would inch up to 37 percent, according to calculations by the Democrat-controlled Senate Banking Committee (thanks to Ya-Ting Liu at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign for compiling these numbers).

While nationwide, Mica would maintain the 80/20 split between highway and transit spending, New York and its neighbors flex some of their highway dollars to support transit. In the tri-state region, cuts to federal "highway" spending translate into cuts to transit spending as well. Under the Mica proposal, federal highway spending in New York would fall by $568 million a year from current levels, while transit spending would be cut by $646 million. Those austerity levels would be locked in for six years.

At a time when the MTA is already facing a $10 billion deficit in its capital plan through 2014, those cuts could be devastating.

An MTA spokesperson told us that Mica's plan, which is only an outline at this point, does not contain enough detail to assess the exact impact on the agency and transit riders. "While we support his efforts to promote efficiency, we are concerned about the level of funding that he intends to include in his legislation," he continued.

New York representatives blasted the proposal. "We are extremely concerned about what a 34 percent cut would mean for all of New York’s needs," a spokesperson for Rep. Jerry Nadler told Streetsblog. "This would be devastating when we’re already struggling to stay afloat with the resources already available."

Nadler's office also pointed out that Mica proposes increasing the share of transit funds that go to suburban and rural areas, as well as to the elderly, disabled and transit-dependent. Said Nadler's spokesperson: "Given that the funding levels are cut, they can probably only accomplish this by taking money from the other transit programs that benefit urban areas like Rail Modernization. This is really bad for NYC/MTA and other cities with older subway systems (e.g. Boston, Chicago)."

Sen. Chuck Schumer responded to the Republican proposal over Twitter. "Rep Mica plan to cut infrastructure is job-killing, future-suffocating, pessimistic vision of US as ‘can’t do’ nation," he wrote.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand focused on the economic impact of the Mica plan: “We all agree that we must reduce spending, but the House Republicans are determined to slash all the way to the bone and New York would disproportionally pay the price. Infrastructure investments are vital to New York and America’s economic future. But rather than invest in our future, this misguided House proposal would cut approximately 44,625 jobs in New York State alone, and more than 600,000 nationwide. New Yorkers and organizations from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO agree that this proposal is the wrong direction.”

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Want to Really Help Low-Income New Yorkers? Support Congestion Pricing

The president of the Community Service Society, who has devoted his life to reducing the burden of poverty, has a message for the governor of New Jersey and the borough president of Staten Island.

March 4, 2024

Understanding Car Culture ‘Denialism’ Can Help Safety Advocates Respond

Opponents of change sow confusion with fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations (moving goalposts), conspiracy theories, and selectivity (cherry picking). We can fight back.

March 4, 2024

Con Edison Cons Its Way Out of Paying Traffic Tickets

The massive energy company is bilking the city of tens of thousands of dollars in potential camera-issued traffic violations by obscuring its trucks’ license plates.

March 1, 2024
See all posts