MTA unveils $29.5B capital spending plan

Plan hinges on congestion pricing
February 27, 2008 3:47:50 PM PST
The MTA on Wednesday unveiled a massive $29 billion spending plan calling for more subways and buses, and faster routes. But there's a catch. Providing that service depends on approval of the controversial congestion pricing plan for cars.

MTA officials say the $29.554 billion plan continues its vital system maintenance and improvement programs, completes the expansion projects currently underway and pursues further capacity expansion to accommodate booming growth.

While the current MTA capital plan does not expire until 2009, the state congestion pricing legislation mandated submission of an accelerated 2008-2013 plan by the end of March. To inform the discussion about the congestion mitigation proposal, the MTA Board authorized release of the plan a month early. The board will consider approval of a capital program at its March meeting.

"This proposed capital program will ensure that our transportation network is both maintained and expanded to support the region's economic growth," MTA Executive Director and CEO Elliot Sander said. "A fully-funded program is critical to encourage transit use, to improve our customers' experience and to keep pace with global competitors."

Officials say the three-tiered program keeps pace with the MTA's maintenance and improvement program by purchasing new rail cars and buses, rehabilitating dozens of stations and upgrading shops and yards. It delivers the first major system expansions in decades by completing the first phase of Second Avenue Subway and completing East Side Access, along with the Fulton Street Transit Center and the new South Ferry subway station.

The plan goes even further, beginning to plan for the growth expected in the region by 2030 with $1.4 billion for communications-based train control on the Flushing and Queens Boulevard lines, $1 billion to begin a second phase of the Second Avenue Subway, $400 million toward bringing Metro-North trains into Penn Station and $50 million to begin planning for new capacity throughout the region.

The plan identifies approximately $20 billion in expected funding sources, including $4.5 billion in bonds from congestion pricing. This program leaves an approximately $9 billion gap to be filled, much like the 2005-2009 Program when it was first presented.

To read the full press release and get more information on the different tiers of the program, click here.