While states like New Jersey have already allocated their transportation stimulus funds, New York is piecemealing out its funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in small increments that make it harder to understand how the state is spending the stimulus overall.
This month, Gov. Paterson announced the release of $77 million for transportation projects in the lower Hudson Valley, $66 million for Long Island projects, and additional millions upstate in the Capital Region, Rochester region, North Country, Western New York, Central New York, and Southern Tier. This is a considerable sum but not close to the $1.1 billion in Surface Transportation Program money which the state is receiving from the stimulus. There is no public schedule for when additional projects will be announced.
Earlier this month, the state also announced the release of $81 million in Transportation Enhancement funds, which are used for pedestrian, bicycle, and “nontraditional” projects; $34 million of these funds came from the stimulus while the rest were part of normal federal appropriations. Notable TE projects in the downstate region include streetscape improvements in Haverstraw and Oyster Bay, $2.5 million for NYC’s Bronx River Greenway, and a $3.1 million bike/pedestrian path in Riverhead, Suffolk County.
Reading the separate press releases makes it clear that New York has so far prioritized maintenance over road expansion projects. But given the scattered nature of the state’s stimulus process, it would be helpful if the state’s economic recovery website at least kept a running total of how much stimulus money had been allocated and a list of the projects it was going to. (One model for how design a stimulus website? Pennsylvania, whose site is comprehensive, easy to use, and has project-level detail.)
By contrast, New York City has offered a full accounting of its $261 million in transportation stimulus funding, with a full list of projects funded by ARRA and a list of projects funded with “displaced” city funds freed up by the stimulus money (many of which are innovative bicycle and pedestrian projects).
Comment Period Open on Transit Projects
MTA stimulus projects are also together in one place, a $1.35 billion list that includes rehabilitations of subway stations in Brooklyn and the Bronx, East Side Access, and the Second Avenue Subway.
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council is accepting written public comment on a list of transit projects from the MTA, Bee-Line, Transport of Rockland, Suffolk County Transit, and Putnam County at NYMTC-Public-Info@dot.state.ny.us until 4pm on April 29. Hearings will be held in White Plains today from 4:30-6pm, in Islip tomorrow, and in Manhattan on April 28; more information here.