ALBANY, NY (01/15/2015) - The New York Public Transit Association (NYPTA) is urging state leaders to create a capital program to ensure transit systems across the state can continue to spur economic growth, serve an increasing number of riders, improve environmental efficiency and support New York businesses.
NYPTA, which represents over 100 transit systems from Buffalo to Long Island, has identified $33 billion in infrastructure needs over the next five years to ensure those systems can maintain and expand their services. These critical infrastructure needs for new trains, buses, stations, maintenance facilities, technology and other physical improvements include $32 billion for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in the New York City region (click here to see the MTA Capital Plan) and another $1 billion for other transit systems across the state (click here to see the NYPTA report).
Available resources would cover only about half this need, leaving a funding gap of approximately $15.8 billion ($15.2 billion for the MTA and $577 million for the rest of the state's urban area transit systems). The MTA is the largest transit system in North America, and its network of subways, buses and commuter trains is the engine that drives the downstate economy. New York's other transit systems are key to ensuring mobility and growth in their regions, and if combined would be the 7th largest transit system in the nation.
"Our transit systems are economic development engines that provide important connections for the people of our communities. A statewide capital program that increases the investment in transit will ensure more reliable service and create jobs," said Carm Basile, President of NYPTA and CEO of the Capital District Transportation Authority. "Transit systems from New York City to Buffalo have critical infrastructure needs that require significant repair or replacement of facilities, as well as the purchase of buses and trains to provide safe and reliable service to the people of New York."
"The MTA moves 8.7 million customers a day, and they are counting on us to renew, enhance and expand the railroad, subway and bus network they rely on every day," said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast. "The cost of maintaining and modernizing our century-old system is significant, but the cost of failing to keep New York moving would be dire."
Transit ridership is on the rise across the state, and the demand for more service is growing. Capital District ridership is up 4% and set a new record last year. Ithaca ridership is growing at 6%, and had its seventh straight year of record ridership. Ridership is up 3% in both Rochester and Syracuse, and other regions are seeing similar increases as well.
Serving these new riders requires new resources to handle growth, as well as robust investment in existing transit vehicle fleets and facilities. As new riders see the benefits of transit, New York's public transportation agencies need to ensure the funding to maintain their networks in a state of good repair to provide safe and reliable service. The lack of past investment has led to a growing backlog of unmet capital needs, including buses operating past the end of their useful life. Transit agencies and their riders are paying the price through vehicle breakdowns, overextended equipment lifespans and unnecessary maintenance costs.
"Transit systems both upstate and downstate are being asked to provide more service to meet the growing demand from customers," Basile said. "These transit systems are essential to their communities, to their economies, to the daily lives of millions of riders and to New York's efforts to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution. Investments made by these systems support transit manufacturers and suppliers from Long Island to Plattsburgh to Hornell, creating and retaining tens of thousands of private sector jobs. An increased investment will allow these firms to add workers and provide spinoff benefits throughout their communities."
The New York Public Transit Association urges state leaders to increase their commitment to funding transit infrastructure and to develop a multi-year capital funding program for transit systems across the state. The transit industry is ready to work with the Governor and the Legislature to solve the capital funding gap so transit systems can continue to contribute to economic revitalization across New York State.
The New York Public Transit Association is a not-for-profit association representing public transit agencies throughout the State. Members include public transit providers, private sector manufacturers and suppliers, state agencies, and community advocates.