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MTA Could Get Surprise Funding Bump From State Budget Deal

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TWC News: MTA Could Get Surprise Funding Bump From State Budget Deal
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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority could be coming into $40 million in extra money that's been added to the tentative state budget. NY1 transit reporter Jose Martinez looks at where that money might be spent.

A surprise bump in funding to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority could give a much-needed boost to a transit system that has been staggered by cuts to bus and subway lines in recent years.

The tentative deal between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Albany lawmakers would, if approved, increase MTA funding by $358 million, or $40 million more than the MTA expected.

Officials said that could lead to restorations in service for straphangers or other improvements.

"Security, the good repair of our infrastructure, stations, tracks, signals, those are all important things to us," said Acting MTA Chairman Fernando Ferrer. "And we'll try to do all of them that resources allow us to do, time allows us to do."

The increase in funding would come at a time when subway ridership is at its highest level since the early 1960s.

With the influx of money from the state, the MTA budget could rise to more than $4.2 billion, leaving officials at the agency with a lot to consider on where to spend it.

That's got transit advocates hopeful that more services will be restored from those lost in 2010, when the MTA slashed $93 million by cutting bus and subway lines. The agency did add $29 million in new service last year.

"There's enough money to do things right, and we'll be looking at various bus and rail restorations, I'm sure," said Andrew Albert, the chairman of the New York City Transit Riders Council.

But others warn that the funding is far from a cure-all.

"Every bit helps, and $40 million is nothing to sneeze at," said William Henderson of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA. "Will it solve every problem the transit system has? No."

The budget, of course, still has to pass in Albany.

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