2010-07-02 / Top Stories

Titus: State Budget Restores Local Cuts

Assemblywoman Michele R. Titus announced that the 2010-2011 state budget restores $25.5 million to fund the MTA Schoolfare program, an increase of $18.9 million over last year. In addition, the budget restores vital Title XX funding to local districts to help save senior centers slated for closure.

“The reduced-fare program helps schoolchildren and working families by lowering the cost of the burdensome daily commute many students endure,” Titus said. “Providing these necessary funds will allow kids to focus on what’s really important – their education – not whether they can afford to get to school and back.

“The senior centers provide meals, programs and companionship right here in our community to seniors who might otherwise live in isolation. They must remain open,” the assemblywoman added.

The 2010-2011 budget also includes amortization for the MTA’s rapid bus transit pilot program to install bus lane cameras.

Additionally, all riders will benefit in the state budget because of a $160.6 million increase for the MTA over last year’s budget – for a total of $3.93 billion – as well as addressing the first two years of the MTA’s capital plan. Titus said that city taxpayers will also benefit from fiscal relief to the city through a reinstatement of Aid and Incentives to Municipalities next year and $150 million from new accounting rules on capital projects.

Budget measures passed will fund road and infrastructure projects statewide and support mass transit. The 2010-2011 budget appropriates $8.8 billion to the Department of Transportation, despite the tough economic times.

“New York’s roadways, railways and bridges are vital links in our economy, so providing enough funding to ensure the efficiency and safety of these systems was a top priority,” Titus said. “In addition, this legislation will fund transportation projects that will provide jobs to many who are struggling in this economy.”

Earlier this month, legislation was passed that funded two vital programs at the 2009-10 budget level: the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), which assists local governments in financing construction, reconstruction or improvement of their highways and bridges, as well as the Marchiselli Program, known as the Municipal Streets and Highway Program, to provide municipalities with state funds to draw federal matching grants for local highway and bridge projects.

“Combined with $3.65 billion in federal funding, this legislation will begin to put New Yorkers back to work and jumpstart our local economies,” Titus said. “At a time when our families are struggling, creating and protecting jobs is a must.” In addition, the 2010-2011 budget:

–Funds the two-year DOT capital program totaling $6.9 billion, in which $3.4 billion will be spent in 2010-11 and $3.5 billion will be spent in 2011-12;

–Transfers $763 million from the General Fund into the Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund for transportation related projects;

–Restores $101 million in Multi-Modal reappropriations; and

–Provides $500,000 to keep rest areas along state highways open.

“I fought to provide the funding to keep rest areas open because it was a major safety concern,” Titus said. “In addition to the restrooms travelers depend on, rest stops are often equipped with pay phones in case of emergency, and provide drowsy drivers a convenient place to stop and safely rest.”

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