Federal support for transportation has remained consistent and growing over past decades. When a crises occurred, be it 9/11 in 2001 or Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Washington was there for us.
Additional billions in assistance above and beyond yearly allocations from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) was provided. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided billions more.
Most federal transportation grants require a 20 percent local share. In most cases, the FTA accepted toll credits instead of hard cash for the local share.
This saved the MTA $1 billion in the previous five-year capital plan, and the same will be true with the current five-year capital program.
Washington has made available over $1.3 billion in 2017 funding for the MTA, which helps pays for 25 percent of its capital program. This includes $23 million in buses and bus facilities; $699 million for upkeep, and $647 million in Urbanized Area federal funding.
The MTA currently manages an active portfolio of federally funded capital improvement projects and programs worth over $12 billion in direct FTA financial assistance.
Instead of complaining, Mayor Bill de Blasio should come up with the balance of $2.5 billion the city still owes toward fully funding the 2015-2019 Five-Year Capital Program and provide several billion more.
City Hall should match Albany dollar for dollar in any increased assistance. Governor Andrew Cuomo should deliver the outstanding balance of $5.8 billion toward his original $8.3 billion pledge, plus his most recent new commitment of an additional $1 billion.
The MTA can't afford to wait until 2018 or 2019 for both de Blasio and Cuomo to make good on their promised financial commitments.
Larry Penner is worked 31 years for the Federal Transit Administration.