We are now entering our eighth month with New Jersey Transit and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority unable to agree on how to split $14.5 billion of CARE COVID-19 relief funds from Washington administered by the Federal Transit Administration. The MTA anticipated receipt of $4 billion out of the second and $6.5 billion out of the third round of funding.
This disagreement affects other non-MTA transit operators. Until New York and New Jersey agree on a split of funding, the NY Metropolitan Transportation Council (FTA sanctioned Metropolitan Planning Organization) is unable to complete its own respective split for its membership.
This results in Nassau Inter County Express (NICE) Bus, City of Long Beach, Suffolk County Transit, Huntington Area Rapid Transit (HART) bus being unable to access their share of funding. These smaller agencies don’t have the same ability to borrow money as the MTA does.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and other elected officials should ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state Department of Transportation, MTA Chairman Janno Lieber and board members to resolve this dispute ASAP. Local bus operators such as NICE Bus do not deserve to be adversely impacted financially by this impasse between the two largest transit agencies in America.
(Larry Penner — transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, LIRR, NICE Bus, City of Long Beach Bus along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ.)