The Stimulus Goes Online: New York

The metropolitan planning organizations of New York State have released their lists of transportation projects that are eligible for stimulus funds designated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The act, signed into law by President Obama in February, dedicates roughly $2.3 billion for New York to invest in public transit, roads, bridges, and bike and pedestrian improvements. Of this, $336 million is “suballocated” to metropolitan planning organizations and transportation management associations.

The below offers a snapshot into individual regions’ needs and priorities. Many listed projects in the Northern and Western parts of NY favor bridge and road maintenance.  Not surprisingly, the NYC list is transit-heavy. Most lists have some sort of transit or pedestrian improvement request, showing that those needs stretch throughout the state.

NYMTC's stimulus lists are available in Google Map format. In NYC, NYMTC funding could go towards Brooklyn subway stations.

NYMTC's stimulus lists are available as Google Maps. Above: stimulus funding could go towards Brooklyn subway stations.

Almost all of the lists are accessible via websites, but members of the general public may find it hard to navigate the jargon. Non-professionals may not guess that a file titled “Transportation Improvement Program 2007-2012″ is where to find a stimulus project list, though that is the only place where some MPOs put it. Other MPOs at least mention ARRA by name, but only a few use plain-English language like “Draft 2009 stimulus projects.”

New York Metropolitan Transportation Council has lists located on its main page, and even has them in Google Map format (scroll down to “Candidate Projects for ARRA”).  NYMTC’s project lists cover NYC, Long Island, and Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester Counties.  Nearly all of the funds for NYC are directed towards NYC Transit for subway upgrades, including station rehabilitation in Brooklyn and the Second Avenue Subway.  Projects in NYMTC’s Lower Hudson Valley Region include modernization of Bee-Line facilities, bus purchases, and bridge and traffic signal replacements. The LI list includes traffic calming in Hempstead, buses for Suffolk County Bus, and a LIRR Atlantic Avenue Viaduct improvement.

After the jump, synopses of MPO stimulus lists from around the state.

Binghamton Metropolitan Transportation Study covers Tioga and Broome Counties in the Western part of NYS.  Its list (under What’s New) includes bridge repair and road resurfacing projects along with a hybrid bus purchase for its bus system.

The Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council, which covers Niagara and Erie Counties in the Northwestern part of the state, requests money for sidewalks, bus purchases, rail upgrade and replacements, and “fare increase and service reduction prevention” in its list (the February 23, 2009 resolution).

Herkimer-Oneida Counties Transportation Study (Under TIP) which covers named counties, does not have a list posted on its website, nor is there a phone number readily available to call.

Genesee Transportation Council, which puts its list right on the front page, has over 155 highway and bridge projects and six transit projects. GTC covers  seven counties in Northwestern NY.

Elmira-Chemung Transportation Council (under Announcements) requests sidewalk and intersection repairs, buses and fare collection equipment, and ITS equipment for the county’s transit system.

Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council also links to its list on the main page.  Among its projects are traffic signal upgrades and infrastructure, street improvements, and expansion of a bike lane network and Safe Routes to Schools.  SMTC covers Onondaga County in central NY.

Adirondack/Glen Falls Transportation Council covering Washington and Warren Counties has a detailed bridge and road project list (under What’s New). It does not seem to have a transit project list, but is requesting $620,000 for capital and operating expenses.

Capital District Transportation Committee posted its stimulus list front and center on its homepage.  The CDTC covers Schnectady, Saratoga, and Rensselaer Counties and requests funding for an Albany bus rapid transit project, rail, bridge repair and maintenance.

Ulster County Transportation Council, under Transportation/Stimulus Program, covers Ulster County.  Its list is mostly bridge and road repairs, some trail enhancements, and bus purchases and funds for completion of transit center.

Orange County Transportation Council has a link on its main page about stimulus projects but then you have to click on OCTC Resolution 2009-03.  Most of its priority projects for Orange County are highway repaving and bridge repair with one transit request for the purchase of six buses.  Its “illustrative” projects include several sidewalk repairs, funds for a transit facility and park and ride, transit and commuter buses, and expansion of bus service.

Poughkeepsie-Dutchess County Transportation Council has a link on its main page that clearly highlights transportation projects in Dutchess County that can be funded with stimulus dollars.  Their lists are split into Priority 1 and 2 Highway Projects and Priority 1 Transit Projects.  The highway list includes a Safe Routes to School project and a new park and ride lot, while the transit list includes purchases for the City and County  transit systems and an upgrade to the Poughkeepsie Metro-North/Amtrak station including bike racks and Energy Star lights.

Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council also clearly notes its stimulus projects on its main page.  Short-term projects proposed for Tompkins County include purchase of 16 hybrid buses and 20 paratransit buses, along with street traffic calming  measures.

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