Senator Martin Malavé Dilan (D-Brooklyn) and Senate colleagues last night passed a budget agreement that funds a 2-year New York State Department of Transportation Capital Plan as well as provides more than $25 million to fund reduced-fare MetroCards for New York City students.
“Construction jobs around the state have been waiting on a plan to materialize so work can begin this construction season, employing tens of thousands through this year and next,” said Senator Dilan, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “With funding in place, New York can award contractors in time to take advantage of New York’s constrained construction season.”
Under the agreement, the state will authorize a 2-year, $6.9 billion capital spending plan. The 2010 – 2012 plan will address vital maintenance and rehabilitation of highways and bridges, support to public transportation, rail, aviation and port facilities.
Also approved last night, the state will pay $25.3 million to fund the reduced fare student MetroCard program in addition to a city contribution. The MTA will cover the remaining costs. All students who were eligible for reduced fare MetroCards during the previous school year will continue to receive the benefit starting this September.
The $25 million in state funding is contingent upon the NYC Department of Education’s receipt of the reduced fare student MetroCards from the MTA.
“Restoring these funds was of great importance to New York’s students and families. There should be no economic downturn too great where New Yorkers have to weigh the cost of attending school against getting to school,” said Senator Dilan.
Facing a massive deficit, the MTA had proposed full elimination of the program, which would have affected the more than 500,000 New York City students who use the reduced fare MetroCards to travel to and from public school.
As part of last night’s budget resolution, Senator Dilan was also instrumental in expanding the powers of the existing Legislative Commission on Critical Transportation Choices, authorizing the commission to examine, study, and make recommendations regarding the financing of transportation infrastructure projects.
The commission will also identify and study potential revenue sources for the Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund in addition to finding ways to assure infrastructure sustainability and ultimately lower associated costs.
“With this funding in place, we can now turn our focus on fully restoring our investment in New York’s infrastructure. A late budget is one thing, but decades of raiding the state’s capital fund has had far worse impact on our roads, bridges and construction workforce. While I would have liked to secure more funding for our infrastructure, I’m confident this $6.9 billion commitment will be instrumental in getting New Yorkers back to work, and improve the condition of our road and bridges,” said Senator Dilan.