Wednesday, February 14, 2018
MTA funding going to upstate bobsled track
Winter athletes and their neighbors in the Adirondack Mountains have long praised Albany for funneling subsidies to the upstate Olympic Training Facility. But last year some downstate lawmakers criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo for diverting almost $5 million from the 2016 MTA budget to the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), the quasi-state agency that manages Lake Placid’s Olympic venues.
“The MTA is supposed to be for the mass transit system here in New York City and its surrounding suburbs, and yet millions of dollars were going upstate to finance a ski resort,” said state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria). “It struck a lot of us as odd, especially at a time when the MTA is in a desperate situation. The trains are breaking down. They’re not running on time. Delays are increasing by the day.”
At the time, the Cuomo administration defended sending the $5 million payment to ORDA, saying it was a routine way of reimbursing the state for money the MTA owed to Albany. It’s also worth noting, $5 million is a tiny fraction of the nearly $7 billion Albany sends to the MTA annually.
Still, the cash transfer has given birth to a simple question: should any money intended for the downstate subway tracks go to help fund an upstate bobsled track?