Where's all the money for transit?


To the editor:

When it comes to public transportation, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fiscal budget left transit riders empty handed with bad news.

He failed to provide any significant funding toward $2.5 billion promised to meet the shortfall in the $32 billion MTA five-year capital plan. 

There was also no money to support the following:

• The commuter rail fare equalization proposal — this would allow residents to pay the same $2.75 fare on the Long Island Railroad or Metro-North, as riding the subway, and provide a free transfer to the subway.

• $200 million, which would have provided half-fare Metrocards for several hundred thousand poor residents earning less than $26,000 per year.

• $4.3 billion of the $6 billion total cost still needed to construct the second phase of the Second Avenue subway.

• $800 million to build the new 7 train station at 10th Avenue and 41st Street.

• $200 million new Metro-North Riverdale and West Bronx service to Penn Station.

• $600 million for Staten Island North Shore bus rapid transit.

• $15 billion for State Island West Shore bus rapid transit, along with new ferry services.

• $231 million for Woodhaven Boulevard select bus service.

• $100 million to construct light rail between Glendale and Long Island City on the old Montauk LIRR branch.

• $1 billion for restoration of LIRR services on the old Rockaway LIRR branch

• $2 billion for the Triboro X subway express, the new subway line connecting the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn.

• $100 million for Main Street Flushing Intermodal Bus Terminal.

• $2.5 billion for the Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront Street car connector at a cost of $2.5 billion, connecting various neighborhoods along the waterfront from Sunset Park, Brooklyn, to Astoria, Queens.

Where does Mayor de Blasio think the MTA and Gov. Cuomo will find the cash for all these projects? The federal transit administration may be possible funding sources for a handful of these projects. City Hall will have to contribute some significant funding if many of these projects will ever see the light of day.

Larry Penner

The author is a transportation historian and advocate who spent 31 years with the federal transit administration.

Larry Penner