By Larry Penner
Significant improvements for transportation in Queens are dependent upon both Albany and City Hall increasing MTA funding.
Federal support for transportation has remained consistent and growing over past decades. When a crisis occurred, whether it was 9/11 in 2001 or Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Washington was there for us. Additional billions in assistance above and beyond yearly formula allocations from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration were provided. In 2009 the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided billions more.
Most federal transportation grants require a 20 percent hard-cash local share. In most cases, the US DOT and FTA accepted toll credits instead of hard cash for the local share. This saved the MTA $1 billion in the previous 2010-2014 five-year capital program. The same will be true with the 2015-2019 five-year capital program.
Washington has made available over $1.3 billion in 2016 formula funding for the MTA, which helps pays for 35 percent of its capital program. There are other opportunities for up to several hundred million more in discretionary competitive grants and the remaining balance of $432 million in available Disaster Relief Recovery Act of 2013 (Hurricane Sandy) dollars.