Is There Parity Between Upstate and Downstate?

Images: Squirrel83/Flickr, Ken Lund/Flickr

As Albany lurches towards the conclusion of budget season on April 1, the word “parity” has been bandied about a great deal — and without careful examination.

Lawmakers seeking “parity” are calling for equal amounts of state money to be distributed between downstate transit, which is managed by the MTA, and upstate roads and bridges, which are managed by the New York State Department of Transportation. The argument goes that NYSDOT isn’t receiving enough compared to the MTA.

Image: General Contractors Association of New York

Image: General Contractors Association of New York

But a recent analysis by the General Contractors Association of New York reveals that while the MTA’s capital program is larger, NYSDOT receives substantially more state dollars for its capital program. State contributions account for 59 percent of funding for NYSDOT’s capital program, but only 31 percent of the MTA’s.

And that’s even before considering that — unlike NYSDOT or the New York State Thurway Authority — the MTA won’t actually be getting any real dollars in this year’s budget.

3 Comments on "Is There Parity Between Upstate and Downstate?"

  1. As I suspected–“parity” means nothing when comparing apples to bananas.

  2. In addition, where are our funds for rail and buses upstate? We DO have them, you know! And we do want them to be better!

    The NYS Department of TRANSPORTATION has an upstate high-speed rail plan which it has been ignoring for three years. If we were to have “parity”, then we’d fund that high speed rail plan.

    Instead, these people seem to think we have a “department of roads”.

  3. I’m very disappointed to see the Tri-State Transportation Campaign buying into this false dichotomy that leads to the conclusion that Upstate does not deserve good transit service. In terms of the numbers shown in this analysis do they account for what DOT spends within the MTA service area on roads and bridges? Also, the table shows toll revenue within the MTA area but not Upstate since the Thruway, bridge authorities and so on are left out.

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