New York City will receive 1,000 new subway cars and 1,400 buses as a result of a $26.1 billion infusion of capital into the Metropolitan Transportation Authority over the next five years, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
The investment in the agency, which Cuomo called the biggest in modern political history, was made possible over the weekend when the governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed to help finance the capital budget with about $8 billion from the state and $2.5 billion from the city.
“Anyone who rides the subways and buses will tell you we needed to do it,” Cuomo said Monday as he prepared to march up Fifth Avenue in a Columbus Day parade. “It will be a more pleasant experience for the rider, and also it will be better for the economy.”
The governor and mayor, both Democrats, have bickered over the funding formula since May, when Cuomo said the city should raise its contribution to $3.2 billion from $657 million. The dispute ended when the governor agreed to take less money and meet de Blasio’s request that the funds would be spent only on mass transit, and not diverted to the state operating budget.
Agreement was required before Oct. 28, when the agency board was scheduled to adopt the five-year plan.
The MTA money is part of a larger investment in regional infrastructure, including rebuilding LaGuardia Airport in Queens and replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River north of the city.
New York’s subway system, founded more than 100 years ago with much of its infrastructure built in the early 20th century, needs signaling and track work, especially sections damaged by saltwater that flooded the system in 2012 during Hurricane Sandy.
The agency, with a $14.8 billion annual operating budget, also runs city buses, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North suburban commuter lines, and bridges and tunnels linking Manhattan and surrounding boroughs.
“The system is not as clean, it’s not as reliable, let’s be honest,” Cuomo said. “We said, ‘Enough is enough.’”
De Blasio, who joined the parade at a different point than Cuomo, told reporters he agreed to increase his share after the state agreed to give the city more decision-making power and to use the money exclusively for transit.
“It’s a very balanced deal,” the mayor said. “There are a lot of good reforms and guarantees in the deal. It’s good for our straphangers. We said all along we were ready to make a contribution if we got a fair deal.”