Maloney & colleagues fought cuts in next year’s outlays for transit projects

Nov 15, 2011
Press Release

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) noted the inclusion of $186,566,000 in federal funding in next year’s budget for the Second Avenue Subway and $203,424,000 for East Side Access.  While these allocations are less than the amounts requested for the projects in the President’s budget -and what was scheduled to be delivered by the federal government under the full-funding grant agreements for the subway and East Side Access- they are a significant increase from the cuts proposed by Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee.  House and Senate negotiators agreed to the funding amounts last night; the FY2012 appropriations bill for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, which contains the allocations, should be voted on by the House on Thursday.
 
In his budget proposal for this year, President Obama had requested $197 million for the subway and $215 million for East Side Access.  However, the House version of the FY 2012 Transportation/HUD appropriations bill originally proposed a 21 percent cut from the amount the President requested for the Second Avenue Subway.  In addition, the House bill would have cut East Side Access by 47 percent.  
 
“These funding levels are not ideal, but the MTA should be able to keep the Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access on track with the amounts provided.  These desperately-needed transit projects are creating tens of thousands of jobs literally beneath our feet,” Maloney said.  “At a time when pretty much everyone agrees that job creation should be our number-one priority, I’m relieved that adequate federal funding for two of the best job-creation engines in the New York area has been included in the 2012 budget.  Transit projects are among the best economic stimulus programs around – indeed, every dollar spent on public infrastructure boosts our economy by an estimated $1.59.”
 
###
 
Last week, Maloney and Reps. Peter King and Jerrold Nadler organized a letter signed by 3 of their House colleagues to the Chairmen, Vice Chairman, and Ranking Member of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees urging the completion of the federal funding agreements for the projects. A copy of that letter follows below.
 
November 9, 2011
 
The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye                                The Honorable Thad Cochran
Chairman                                                                     Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Appropriations                         Senate Committee on Appropriations
S-128, United States Capitol                                      S-146A, United States Capitol
Washington, DC 20510                                              Washington, DC 20510
 
The Honorable Harold Rogers                                    The Honorable Norm Dicks
Chairman                                                                     Ranking Member
House Committee on Appropriations                         House Committee on Appropriations
H-307, United States Capitol                                     1016 Longworth House Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515                                              Washington, DC 20515
 
Dear Chairman Inouye, Vice Chairman Cochran, Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Dicks:
 
As you work to finalize the fiscal year (FY) 2012 Transportation, Housing and Urban Affairs Appropriations bill, we respectfully request that you provide $197,000,000 for the Second Avenue Subway and $215,000,000 for the East Side Access project at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).  
 
These are the allocations set forth for Fiscal Year 2012 in the full funding grant agreements already approved under the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New Starts account and were included in the President’s FY 2012 budget. The MTA and New York State entered into their FFGAs with the understanding that the federal government would abide by the terms outlined in the agreements.  Construction for both of these projects is well underway and over 3,000 daily workers are directly employed by them.  If these projects are not fully funded, critical public transportation projects will be delayed, putting thousands of private sector construction jobs immediately at risk and jeopardizing hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs in supporting sectors in the long term.  
 
Further, we respectfully request you to adopt the funding levels for federal transit programs in the Senate FY 2012 Transportation, Housing and Urban Affairs Appropriations bill.  The maintenance of current funding levels for federal transit programs is vital to the MTA's capital budget to maintain its system in a state of good repair.
 
Again, we strongly urge you to fully fund these two New Starts projects, which are critical to the economic vitality of the New York City region.  We look forward to working with you in meeting our nation’s public transportation needs.   
 
Sincerely,
 
CAROLYN B. MALONEY                                                
PETER T. KING                                                   
JERROLD NADLER
GREGORY MEEKS                                                             
MICHAEL GRIMM                                            
JOSEPH CROWLEY
Members of Congress
 
###
 
In September, Maloney and Nadler organized a letter signed by 10 of their House colleagues to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Transportation and HUD, again urging the completion of the federal funding agreements for the projects. A copy of that letter follows below.
 
September 7, 2011
 
The Honorable Tom Latham                                                  The Honorable John Olver
Chairman                                                                                Ranking Member                               
Subcmte. on Transportation-HUD                                          Subcmte. on Transportation-HUD
Committee on Appropriations                                                Committee on Appropriations           
2358 Rayburn House Office Building                                   1116 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515                                                          Washington, DC 20515
 
Dear Chairman Latham and Ranking Member Olver:
 
As you move forward with the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Transportation, HUD Appropriations bill, we respectfully request that you honor the federal government’s commitment to fully fund the New Starts Program and complete the Second Avenue Subway and the Long Island Rail Road East Side Access, two projects that have Full Funding Agreements (FFGA).  These two projects are phenomenal economic engines for the New York Metropolitan region, and will continue to contribute significantly to the economy for many years to come.  When completed, they will relieve overcrowding on two of the nation’s most overcrowded rail systems, the Lexington Avenue subway line and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR).  Together they are creating 38,000 jobs and billions in economic activity.  Cutting these projects or reducing their appropriations would harm our region’s economy, causing job losses, impacting small businesses, increasing overall construction costs and delaying the completion of these critically important projects.
 
As you know, since the mid-1990s, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have fulfilled the federal commitments outlined in executed FFGAs and supported transportation projects that provide jobs and economic activity, such as the Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access projects.  New York state and local sponsors of these FFGAs have already provided their share of funding, and the reliability of the FFGA funding schedule has allowed sponsors to use their FFGAs to support private financing arrangements.  Reductions in FFGA appropriations for these vital projects would force increase borrowing, resulting in greater interest costs and even higher project costs.
 
Both East Side Access and Second Avenue Subway are substantially underway and slated for a 2016 completion date.  In both cases, full funding grant agreements have been signed, obligating the federal government to provide a fixed dollar amount toward the construction costs.  Failing to honor the federal government’s commitment in the FY12 appropriations process will cause these projects to be significantly delayed putting tens of thousands of private sector construction jobs immediately at risk and jeopardizing hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs in supporting sectors.
 
We respectfully urge you to fully fund the New Starts program in order to complete projects with Full Funding Grant Agreements, such as Second Avenue Subway and the East Side Access projects.
 
Sincerely,
 
CAROLYN B. MALONEY                    
JERROLD NADLER                 
PETER T. KING
CHARLES RANGEL                                                                             
MICHAEL GRIMM
YVETTE D. CLARKE                                                                            
GARY ACKERMAN
MAURICE HINCHEY                                                                           
JOSEPH CROWLEY
PAUL TONKO                                                                                     
GREGORY MEEKS
TIMOTHY BISHOP
Members of Congress