Monday, April 15, 2013

MTA, NYSDOT reach cost saving agreement; Prendergast nominated as MTA head

A cooperative agreement between the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has been made, which will save taxpayers and transit riders $111 million.

The agreement provides the MTA with $111 million in Transportation Development Credits to leverage $1 billion in federal disaster relief funding for Superstorm Sandy recovery and rebuilding efforts.

"Under this agreement, the State Department of Transportation is saving the MTA more than $100 million and helping to obtain $1 billion in precious federal funding to cover Sandy recovery and rebuilding costs," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded the MTA $1 billion on March 29 as a reimbursement for the costs of recovering from Superstorm Sandy and rebuilding damaged elements of the MTA's subway, bus and commuter rail system. The funding is in addition to more than $193 million in initial reimbursement allocated last month to New York City Transit (NYCT), Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road and $3 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for MTA Bridges and Tunnels.

The latest $1 billion in federal funding requires a 10 percent local match. To relieve the MTA of this significant cost, NYSDOT approved a MTA request to use $111 million in Transportation Development Credits to meet the local match requirement.

"We are pleased these Transportation Development Credits will make it easier for the MTA to fund our very significant work to restore our transit system from Superstorm Sandy's devastation," MTA Acting Chairman Fernando Ferrer said. "This is a great example of how Gov. Cuomo's efforts to encourage state agencies to work closely together are getting results."

The MTA's transit projects will be eligible in the coming months for additional funds for critical repair and restoration projects, as well as mitigation and resiliency measures from the FTA's Emergency Relief program. The MTA will also apply to FEMA for additional federal funding for recovery work at its seven bridges and two tunnels.

Additionally, Gov. Cuomo nominated Thomas Prendergast to serve as chairman and chief executive officer of the MTA. Prendergast has served more than three years as president of MTA NYCT and has served as the MTA interim executive director since January 1, 2013. He replaces Joseph Lhota.

"Tom Prendergast is a consummate public transit leader who is the ideal candidate to oversee the nation's largest transportation system," said Gov. Cuomo. "The MTA plays a vital role in New York's economy and the daily lives of the millions of commuters who use its services. Tom has vast experience in infrastructure and transportation and has spent years managing commuter railroads, as well as New York City's subways and buses. From the track bed to the budget to modernizing our system for the 21st Century, I can't imagine anyone having a better understanding of how the region's vast system operates and the challenges that it faces."

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