New York Daily News
Feds no help in N.Y.-N.J. funding spat
New York and New Jersey are in a spat over mass transit funding, and the feds are steering clear.
The two states, along with Connecticut, have $14.2 billion of federal money but can’t agree on how to spend it.
New York State officials want the money distributed according to each state’s mass transit operating costs, which makes the share for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority more than six times bigger than the share for New Jersey.
Both Acting MTA Chairman Janno Lieber and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy sent letters to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg last month asking the Federal Transit Administration to step in and mediate negotiations.
But the FTA is not getting involved.
“Federal public transportation law does not give the FTA the authority to make the determination,” said agency spokesman Steven Taubenkibel late last week.
Under relief bills passed by Congress, the $14.2 billion in mass transit relief is to be split among the three states.
The argument by New York officials is based on the MTA’s $17.5 billion annual operating budget, far larger than NJ Transit’s budget of roughly $2.6 billion.
The New Jersey governor said the funding should be split based on previous federal formulas that gave the MTA roughly 16% of the money available nationally, which New York officials have long argued is unfair. The MTA carries roughly 40% of the country’s mass transit riders.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said Congress intended for the MTA to receive roughly $10.5 billion from the two bills to cover massive hits from the pandemic.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut must submit to the FTA an agreement to split the funds by Nov. 8 or else be ineligible for a $2.2 billion national pot of money allocated for transit agencies through the American Rescue Plan.