Schumer Says Final Transportation Bill Will Include Full Funding of Critical 5340 Program Funds & Provide NYS Close To $100M Per Year In Mass Transit Funding; Regional Transit Agencies Across Upstate – Like the NFTA, RGRTA & CDTA – Stood To Lose Millions Per Year Over Next 6 Years if Proposed Cut Was Not Reversed

Not Only Did Schumer Restore 5340 Program That Was Initially Eliminated, He Also Helped Secure an $18.5 Million Increase in 5340 Funding Over the Next 5 Years

Schumer: Federal Transportation Bill Will No Longer Derail Critical Funding for Upstate NY

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that, following his push, the joint House and Senate Transportation Conference Committee has agreed to include the full restoration funding to the critical 5340 High Density States Program in the final transportation bill set to be voted on later this week. Schumer explained that, as a part of the proposed transportation bill passed by the House a few weeks ago, a late amendment was agreed to that completely eliminated the 5340 Program. The elimination of this program would have cost New York State transit agencies roughly $100 million a year. Schumer, who was both chosen as transportation bill conferee, made restoring this program, and reversing the proposed cut, a top priority for the conference committee. Schumer announced today that, following his push, the final transportation bill will fully restore the 5340 program and, as a result, Upstate and Downstate transit agencies will no longer face devastating cuts. On top of that, the program will see an increase of roughly $18.5 million over the next five years.

“As a conferee, we were able to not only restore, but even increase, the funding the critical 5340 program receives. This is great news for Upstate and Downstate NY and a major victory for our regional transit agencies – because it means we have protected millions in critical transportation funding our agencies were set to receive over the next six years. With this funding, agencies like the NFTA, RGRTA and CDTA will be able to continue operating and keeping passengers safe,” said Senator Schumer. “Our regional transit agencies have been lifelines for our communities and major drivers the New York State economy for a generation. This deal will ensure they can continue humming as that collective economic engine for Upstate New York in the years to come.”

Schumer explained that this funding has allowed area transit agencies, like the Central New York Regional Transportation Authority (Centro), Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) and Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) to operate their regional transportation services for years. However, this could have been disastrous for ridership and the Upstate NY economy as a whole if this critical funding were eliminated. If left unchanged, Schumer said these funding cuts could have been devastating for both Upstate and Downstate NY, especially at time when New York’s infrastructure is crumbling and maintenance costs are skyrocketing.

In 2014, New York State received $94,405,053 from the FTA’s Section 5340 High Density States program:

-          The Capital Region received a total of $2,542,667 in federal funding under the High Density States program in 2014.

-          Western New York received a total of $3,610,734 in federal funding under the High Density States program in 2014.

-          The Rochester-Finger Lakes Region received a total of $2,779,973 in federal funding under the High Density States program in 2014.

-          The Southern Tier received a total of $1,069,849 in federal funding under the High Density States program in 2014.

-          The North Country received a total of $475,627 in federal funding under the High Density States program in 2014.

-          Central New York received a total of $2,043,375 in federal funding under the High Density States program in 2014.

-          New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley received a combined $71,725,257 in federal funding, through the MTA, under the High Density States program in 2014 (this total includes some limited service to other areas within the UAZ including CT, and NJ).

o   In addition, a number of smaller transit services that also service that region received a combined $9,572,674, under the High Density States Program in 2014.

§  NYCDOT - $4,852,420

§  Westchester - $1,378,314

§  Rockland - $575,871

§  Putnam - $103,846

§  Nassau – $1,567,124

§  Suffolk – $1,095,099

“The loss of funding from the High Density States Program would have been devastating for RTS, but thanks to Senator Schumer's leadership and the partnership of our state's congressional delegation, these critical funds have been restored,” said Bill Carpenter, CEO of RTS. “Now we can continue to focus on connecting our customers to jobs, education and healthcare in the most safe, convenient and reliable way possible.”

“By insuring the continuance and full funding of 5340 (High Density) funding, transit authorities like CDTA will be able to continue to develop high quality services that people can depend on. Ridership on CDTA buses has grown by 25% in the last 5 years and today’s announcement of a stronger partnership with the federal government is welcome news for CDTA, for our customers and for the regional economy, which is increasingly reliant on us. A special thank you to Senator Schumer for his tenacity and resolve to transit and the work we do. Today is the start of bigger menu of mobility options for the people of the Capital Region,” said Carm Basile, Chief Executive Officer of the Capital District Transportation Authority.

“On behalf of our Metro customers, and really all of WNY, I want to thank Senator Schumer for his herculean effort to restore vital High Density funding to Section 5340 of the Transit Bill.  To have lost this funding would have been devastating to our transit operations.  The senator has continually been a strong advocate for proper levels of funding for our Metro transit riders and this is just one more example of his leadership and commitment to our community,” said Kim Minkel, Executive Director of the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority.   

“This is terrific news and we are extremely grateful to Sen. Chuck Schumer for doing exactly what he said he would do and that is ‘fight tooth and nail’ to not only restore, but now also to increase this important funding for Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, Inc. (TCAT) and other transit agencies in high density states,” said TCAT Acting General Manager Alice Eccleston.  “Our agency has been long struggling to keep up with demand, a difficult task particularly when we have an aging fleet and lack of funding to replace buses and to pay for much needed capital projects.”   

“It appears the holidays have come early, as this is great news for the people who use our B.C. Transit system,” says Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.  “We want to thank Senator Schumer for his efforts in restoring the funding so we can continue to provide this essential service to the people of Broome County.”

As a conferee helping negotiate the differences between the House and Senate bills before the final transportation legislation is passed into law, Schumer successfully led the effort to protect this critical funding to Upstate and Downstate NY transit agencies. In addition, under the deal reached in conference, funding for the 5340 Program will grow each year. Schumer said this means that, in addition to restoring the nearly $1.3 billion in 5340 funding for the next five years, there will also be a $18.5 million increase in 5340 funds over the next five years. Under current law, the 5340 Program is funded at $262,950,000 per year. By year five of the proposed transportation bill, this funding will reach $269,364,074. Schumer said these increased funding levels also come in addition to the creation of a new $1.5 billion discretionary bus program – roughly $300 million a year – which Upstate NY transit agencies will be eligible to apply to, in an effort to replace aging bus fleets. Schumer said this means the 5340 and the discretionary bus program – which initially was set to receive the redirected 5340 funds – will both be allowed to grow and help transit agencies across the country.

This 5340 funding is critical to transit agencies across the state, many of whom rely on this federal funding to help balance their already tight budgets. Eliminating this direct funding to transit agencies like the NFTA, RGRTA, CDTA and others in Upstate would have left those agencies with less funds available for critical maintenance, system upgrades, and to ensure reliable and important service is provide throughout NY State. The loss of this funding could have had an indirect impact on other forms of transportation as well, including highway and bridge funding. For example, if a smaller mass transit agency in Upstate New York runs into financial trouble because of the loss of this funding and needs to be made whole by the state, New York State might have had to reduce the amount of money they spend in other transportation programs to make up for the loss.


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