QUEENS, NY – Borough President Melinda Katz stated the following in response to questions about the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA’s) threat to slash funding for New York City transit projects from the capital plan, in advance of the MTA Board meeting scheduled for tomorrow:

“It is astonishing to me that the MTA would threaten to hold New York City transit projects hostage for more City money. The MTA is an authority created by the legislature to deliver transit services throughout the region, not to stifle projects at the expense of millions of suffering customers.

“New York City residents and businesses already pay more than our fair share at 75 percent of the MTA’s regional budget, and yet in a transit desert like Queens, most of the subway stations we do have are still structurally deficient. Millions of Queens residents have long-deserved a more reliable mass transit experience, and capital projects like the full reconstruction of the Jamaica Bus Depot, signal modernization along the E, F, M and R lines and complete renovations of 16 Queens subway stations are absolutely critical. Considering them as bargaining chips does little to instill confidence in the MTA.  We also urge the MTA to implement a full-time extension of the CityTicket pricing to help make the LIRR a more accessible and viable transit option, especially for Queens residents.

“Furthermore, the MTA should guarantee that the billions in additional taxpayer dollars from the City will be solely used for overdue MTA improvements and enhancements.”

In the Executive Budget in May, the City Administration increased capital funding to fully meet the MTA’s request of $657 million the largest general capital contribution to the agency in recent history. That is in addition to the $1 billion+ a year in operating funds the City provides the MTA, the $2.4 billion for the 7 train extension to the West Side, and an additional $200 million in capital from the Vanderbilt Corridor Rezoning.

In FY14, the MTA’s operating budget was $13.9 billion. City residents and businesses paid $10.1 billion in fares, tolls and dedicated taxes, which was $288 million more than what the MTA spent on NYC Transit, MTA Bus and Staten Island Railroad combined.

Over the years the MTA hasn’t met its obligation with $270 million diverted from MTA to other state efforts.