Capital New York:
In a move that surprised city officials, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said on Monday that the de Blasio administration should significantly increase its contributions to the agency’s $32 billion capital plan.
The request came the same morning City Hall confirmed it would meet the M.T.A.’s prior request for $657 million—and days after it began printing executive budget books with the line item. Reporters have been asking for months if Mayor Bill de Blasio would provide that funding, which increases the city’s annual contribution from $100 million to $125 million.
But in a letter to first deputy mayor Anthony Shorris, chairman Thomas Prendergast said the agency’s needs are far greater and increased his ask to $1.5 billion. He said the city should make an annual contribution of $300 million to the five-year plan, which is currently underfunded by about $14 billion. He said increased subway ridership, now at six million on busy days, makes it clear how important it is to find the funding.
“Now, at this critical juncture, is the right time for the City to acknowledge the need for significantly increased investment in the MTA, and in the City’s future,” Prendergast wrote. “We hope that you agree and that we can look forward to accelerated discussions.”
He also said the city should find additional money to help cover major projects. He suggested, as one example, that the city could contribute $1 billion toward the cost of the Second Avenue subway extension.
The requests appeared to annoy City Hall, with a spokesperson saying it was offering the highest level of “general capital support” to the agency in 15 years.
Better pay up, Bill. You don't want to deal with more subway delays while you're trying to look like an everyday New Yorker!