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New York: 5-Year Funding Plan For Upstate & Downstate Transit

Posted by Content Coordinator on Wednesday, November 26th, 2014


Executive Summary

New York benefits from the many public transportation services in communities across the state. These systems bring people to work, to school, to shopping and to medical appointments. They are critical components of the engine that drives New York’s economy. In order to provide safe, reliable service and keep pace with increased demand, transit systems need to make capital infrastructure investments to keep vehicles and facilities in a state of good repair. Transit ridership is at record levels and growing in many areas of the state, and our communities are demanding more and better transit service.

Transit capital assets are an important component of the state’s public infrastructure. Preserving transit infrastructure in a state of good repair and strategically expanding capital assets to meet growing demand is essential to providing the daily mobility that supports the state and local economy.

This report presents the infrastructure needs of urban area transit systems in Upstate New York and in Downstate Suburban Counties (other than the transit services operated by the MTA). There are over 100 transit systems that provide public transportation service outside New York City. These systems operate in nearly every county of the state and transport more than 550,000 people each day.

$1 billion in investment is needed in Upstate and Downstate Suburban County Transit infrastructure over the next 5 years.

TABLE 1: Upstate & Downstate Suburban Capital NeedsUpstate and Downstate Suburban County Transit systems have identified approximately $1 billion in infrastructure investment that is needed over the next five years (Table 1). The first priority is to preserve existing core infrastructure. Much of this investment will replace transit vehicles as they reach the end of their useful life. Capital investments are also needed to address other infrastructure like vehicle maintenance and fueling facilities, upgrading communications equipment, and modernizing fare collection technology.

Expansion of transit service is necessary to meet growing ridership and better serve the local economy. Additional buses and new Bus Rapid Transit routes will provide higher quality transit service that meets customer demands.

There is no multi-year state funding program to meet the infrastructure needs of systems other than the MTA.

TABLE 2: Upstate & Downstate Suburban Capital ResourcesCapital funding for Upstate and Downstate Transit infrastructure comes largely from funding provided though the Federal Transit Administration, along with legislatively required state and local matching funds. In the past, the state has provided additional capital funding through the State Dedicated Transportation Fund and the 2005 Rebuild and Renew New York Transportation Bond Act. While the state budget has included an annual appropriation of capital funds for systems other than the MTA, these capital appropriations are rarely made available to transit systems.

There is a $577 million funding gap to meet Upstate and Downstate Transit infrastructure needs.

At current funding levels (Table 2), resources available to transit systems from all levels of government are not sufficient to meet transit infrastructure needs. Expected funding will cover only 43% of capital needs, leaving a funding gap of $577 million over the next 5 years.

The state’s transit systems stand ready to work with state and local officials to find solutions to fill the capital funding gap.

The outlook for increased transit assistance from Washington is dim. The state should take a leadership role in identifying new resources for transit infrastructure investment in order to preserve and modernize these vital assets so they can continue to support the state’s economic growth. Increasing investment in transit infrastructure over the next 5 years will lead to improved infrastructure conditions, safer and more reliable service, lower operating and maintenance costs, and reduced need for operating subsidies.

Note: The capital needs presented here are from surveys of capital needs of urbanized transit systems. NYPTA will work with NYSDOT to identify the capital needs and available funding of the state’s rural, regional and intercity systems and add that information to what is presented in this report to provide a complete picture of statewide transit infrastructure needs.

Download full version (PDF): 5-YEAR Capital Program for Upstate and Downstate Transit

About the New York Public Transit Association, Inc.
New York Public Transit Association, Inc. (NYPTA) is a not-for-profit association of public transportation service providers, private sector manufacturers and consultants, and state government agencies. Formed in 1983 by representatives of the transit industry committed to the advancement of public transportation, NYPTA remains devoted to representing and meeting the mass tranist needs of the riding public. We are dedicated to community mobility through the advancement of safe, cost effective, accessible and environmentally-friendly public transit service throughout New York State.

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