November 8, 2015

Federal Bill Would Cut TCAT Funding $200,000 Annually

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Correction appended 

An amendment to a federal highway bill that passed the United States House of Representatives Wednesday proposes to cut funding for public transit and would slash 12 percent of the federal portion of TCAT funding, or $207,000 annually, according to a TCAT press release.

In 2013, 10.6 percent of the TCAT’s annual budget came from federal funds, according to its website.

TCAT workers plan to protest the bill along with other transit agencies in the state, according to the release.

According to The Syracuse Post-Standard, the bill would cut $820 million over the course of six years statewide. New York state and New Jersey currently receives $140 million a year from the federal government for public transportation.

The New York Public Transit Association said it plans to mobilize and lobby for further funding for public transit in the state and throughout the east coast — the region most affected by the cuts.

The mobilized organizations aim to work with the United States Senate, which has not presently passed the bill and could amend or reject it, according to the release.

“The recently passed House Surface Transportation bill eliminates transit funding dedicated to states with high population-density, including New York, a change that will significantly impact transit systems across the state,” NYPTA President and CEO of the Capital District Transit Agency (CDTA) in Albany Carm Basile said in the release.

Basile emphasized that this cut would seriously compromise the quality of services TCAT provides.

“A 20 percent or more cut in funding will force us to ask our riders to pay more for less service, and slow economic growth in our communities,” Basile said.

At a meeting called by the NYPTA Friday, NYPTA announced its plans to collaborate with transit agencies in five other states and the District of Columbia, because combined, they make up half the public transit riders in the United States, according to The Syracuse Post-Standard.

The amendment to the highway bill that induced the funding cut was made “last-minute,” and was advocated by representatives from rural states, according to the release.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that New York state currently receives $140 million a year from the federal government for transportation. In fact, both New York and New Jersey receive that amount for transportation.