Final State Budget Lowers MTA Funds Diversion

March 30, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

The contested $40 million diversion of Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) operating funds was lowered to $30 million in the final state budget.

Transportation advocates and officials have protested Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to move $40 million from operating funds to paying off capital bonds the state was responsible for. In the Senate and Assembly’s proposed budgets, the $40 million had been restored.

The MTA had not asked the governor to restore the $40 million. 

“Our needs have been met by the state,” MTA Chair Tom Prendergast said. 

Prendergast said last year the MTA’s budget needs were met and the authority was given more than asked for by the state, so the $40 million was not a contentious point. 

While $30 million was taken from the Mass Transportation Operating Assistance Fund, which is MTA revenue, the governor’s office has explained that the budget also includes increased operating aid to the MTA. The executive budget added $85 million in operating aid for the MTA for the last year so the authority still comes out ahead, the governor’s office explained early this year.

New York State Division of Budget spokesman Morris Peters added that MTA operating aid has increased since fiscal year 2011–2012. 

Advocates said officials are undermining transit riders and the stability of the authority with the move. 

The MTA is releasing its five-year capital plan later this year, and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign estimates a $15 billion gap in funding there.