STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR SPITZER REGARDING THE MTA CAPITAL PLAN
I commend MTA Chair Dale Hemmerdinger, Executive Director and CEO Lee Sander and staff for accelerating the submission of the preliminary MTA Capital Plan. The submission of this preliminary capital plan begins the process of review, consultation and debate that should result in a final capital plan being adopted by the Legislature by March 31. This capital plan is also the first time the MTA has laid out the financial impact of congestion pricing.
The MTA has presented a well-considered plan for critical investments to help the New York City metropolitan region grow and prosper. The plan also reflects the challenging fiscal times and balances the need to expand our transportation infrastructure to support economic growth with funding restraints.
We will undertake a detailed review of the projects proposed in the plan, as well as the timing and funding demands it assumes. Despite the challenging budget climate, we must recognize the need to make critical infrastructure investments to support future economic prosperity and improve the quality of service for millions of MTA riders. At the same time, we will appraise the need to invest in other transportation infrastructure such as our highways and bridges.
This capital plan highlights the need for the City Council and the Legislature to enact a congestion pricing plan to meet the needs of the region. Mayor Bloomberg and I will each be working with our respective legislative bodies to gain support for a congestion pricing plan that can support the projects set forth in this capital plan.
Congestion pricing is expected to produce revenue that supports $4.5 billion in funding for mass transit over the life of this capital plan. In addition to the economic, environmental and health benefits, these dollars provide urgently needed mass transit expansion and improvement projects that will help keep New York the world's global capital.
The MTA proposal requires equitable cost sharing. I have already committed to $300 million annually starting in 2010. In addition, I am calling on the Port Authority to contribute to this plan.
In Washington, DC this past weekend I joined other Governors from around the country to press for more federal attention to the infrastructure needs of this nation. We urged Washington to take responsibility and increase funding for rebuilding our transportation infrastructure. Let me say again that the federal government must recognize its role in funding the infrastructure needs of this state.