Before outlining a plan to send LaGuardia Airport soaring into the 21st century, Gov. Andrew Cuomo committed to funding the MTA’s multi-billion funding gap publicly for the first time.
“The connective tissue for the Metro area is all the MTA … the MTA in my opinion was underfunded for a long period of time,” Cuomo said.
“I believe in the MTA capital plan … the state will fund the $8.3 billion. We’ll put it in the budget next year,” Cuomo said.
How to fund the MTA’s $14.8 billion gap in the Capital Program —reduced last week to about $12.4 billion thanks to some cost-saving measures—has been a question since the MTA board voted to pass the program last fall, and the legislative session ended this summerwithout a plan to fund the gaping hole.
Transportation advocacy groups staged a premature funeral for high-tech subway cars and published a book of “Subway Horror Stories”in hopes of Albany coming through to fill the deficit.
Last week, Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris sent a letter to MTA CEO and Chairman Tom Prendergast reiterating that the city is “ready and willing to work with the State to develop sound, long-term solutions.” Prendergast, in turn, sent a letter to Cuomo asking the state to contribute more.
Cuomo touted “design/build,” a strategy that allows contractors to submit a single bid for design and construction project, for shaving about $4 billion from the MTA budget.
In transportation news that extends beyond New York City straphangers, Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden teamed up Monday to announce a $4 billion overhaul of LaGuardia Airport at the Association for a Better New York lunch.
“LaGuardia is un-New York,” Cuomo said. “LaGuardia is slow, dated, it is a terrible front door entranceway to New York … almost universally decried as a poor representation of an airport.”
Cuomo said the airport will be revamped to include unified terminals, new flight operating space and hotels.
“LaGuardia is an airport with a first class workforce & they deserve a first class facility to serve the customers who count on them,” said Biden, who last year famously said it seemed LaGuardia belonged in a “third world country.”
The project will start in 2016, and is expected to create 8,000 new jobs.
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