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MTA says its $51.5 billion capital plan is not finished and lawmakers have two weeks left to approve it

2019-09-17

The MTA’s much touted $51.5 billion five-year capital plan is not yet finished, a spokesman told the Daily News on Tuesday.

Transit brass released an outline of the wildly expensive plan on Monday, calling it “historic” and claiming it will revolutionize transportation in New York City. Officials did not, however, release an itemized list of projects that make up the plan.

When asked on Tuesday by email if the itemized list of projects was finished, Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Tim Minton said, “No.”

The MTA board is set to vote on the plan next Wednesday. The agency’s Capital Program Review Board, which is comprised of representatives for Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, must sign off on the plan by Oct. 1.

The proposal may also be subject to changes by way of a state-mandated “forensic audit” of the MTA’s capital planning processes that’s due by the end of the year.

“This is politics at its worst," said Rachael Fauss, an analyst at good government group Reinvent Albany. "If the MTA were following a rationale process for spending $55 billion of the public’s money, it would have released a list of projects months ago along with its 20-year need assessment. The public deserves to know the full details of the plan and should have been given the opportunity to weigh in.”

The total cost of the plan will likely still hold up, as MTA officials have identified prospective sources of funding for it.

MTA Chairman Pat Foye on Monday said $15 billion of it will be covered by the city’s incoming congestion pricing scheme and another $10 billion will be paid for by new internet sales and real estate transfer taxes that were passed by state lawmakers earlier this year.

The rest hinges on bonds, $10.5 billion from the federal government and $3 billion from both the city and the state.

Multiple MTA spokespeople did not immediately say when the itemized list of capital projects will be finished. On Monday, Minton said it would be released “in the next week.”