How will the city and state fund the MTA’s big projects?

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NEW YORK (PIX11) -- Transportation and civic groups, after hearing that the proposed city of New York capital budget will include $125 million for the MTA Capital Program, are calling on the city to increase it.

“We appreciate City Hall's proposal to increase its annual contribution to the MTA Capital Program by $25 million. But the city needs to do much more to close the estimated $14 billion gap in the plan,” says Regional Plan Association President Emeritus Bob Yaro. “The city has the most to gain from a fully functioning transit system. The vast majority of the MTA’s nearly nine million daily passengers live and/or work in the city, and if the system is allowed to deteriorate, it will have an inordinate impact on New York City's residents and its economy.”

The MTA Capital Plan is used to fund repair and upgrade projects. The funding gap for the 5-year $32 billion program is estimated to be a $14 billion.

The real estate industry will be contributing some funding to the projects. For example, about $220 million is coming from that sector for transit projects around the redevelopment of Grand Central.

If the city had instead decided to keep its contribution at the 1982-1986 level in real (inflation-adjusted) terms, the contribution would have reached $363 million in 2014, and provide more than $1.8 billion for the proposed 2015-2019 capital plan.

The New York City Independent Budget Office released a report that analyzed the city's contribution over the past 30 years to the MTA Capital plan. "If the City contribution had kept up with the rate of inflation, it would have reached $363 million in 2014, and provide more than $1.8 billion for the proposed 2015-2019 capital plan," the report said.

“The City is getting a deal reminiscent of the nickel fare, spending a miniscule amount to keep its most valuable asset in shape,” said Gene Russianoff with the Straphangers Campaign. “All three levels of government—the City, the State and the federal government—should be doing more to keep city transit safe, decent and reliable for eight million daily riders.”

The MTA had previously asked for $125 million from the city. In a letter written to Mayor de Blasio's administration this week, the MTA Chairman called for a higher dollar amount.

Negotiations within the city and state are continuing.

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