NEW YORK - Gov. Andrew Cuomo has approved the request by New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority to fully fund the last three years of the agency’s five-year capital plan and lift its bond cap by $7 billion.
“Our capital plan moves forward,” chairman and chief executive Joseph Lhota said at Monday’s board finance committee meeting.
Under the agreement, which Cuomo brokered with legislative leaders over the weekend, the state will provide $13.1 billion for the Second Avenue subway, extension of the No. 7 subway line to the West Side, East Side access for Long Island Rail Road commuters, and the Fulton Street transit center in Lower Manhattan.
Lawmakers in Albany are expected to vote Wednesday on the measure, which is packaged with the transportation budget bill. “It’s in the aging process,” Lhota said. Included are $770 million in new funds and a $2.2 billion loan request to the federal Rail Road Infrastructure Fund.
The MTA allocated $9.1 billion for the first two years of its five-year capital plan.
“It’s not too soon to think about the next five-year capital plan,” Lhota said.
Lhota also said state budget director Robert Megna is receptive to waiving bond-issuance fees for MTA refunding bond sales, for which the agency may be on the hook for $75 million this year alone. State law requires the MTA to pay a fee of $8.40 for every $1,000 in bonds.
The agency could issue up to $9 billion of bonds this year. Including a $250 million sale of Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority transportation revenue bonds that the finance committee approved Monday, the MTA has already approved $1.25 billion in bond sales this year.
Board member Allen Cappelli said the MTA should lobby for a waiver on new-money bond fees as well. “We are a public agency that serves the city and the state of New York. We should be pushing this issue continually, even if we are not successful in the short run,” said Cappelli, an attorney from Staten Island.
According to Lhota, the MTA could make it a legislative agenda item. “It’s not just the MTA, it’s all state agencies, such as the Dormitory Authority,” he said.
The MTA will issue $600 million of Series 2012C transportation revenue bonds on April 17 and 18, finance director Patrick McCoy said. Closing is scheduled for April 26.
The amount is the balance of the $1 billion in bond funding the board approved in January. Earlier this month, the MTA sold $400 million of transportation revenue bonds, under what McCoy called “very favorable markets.” The transaction included $150 million in three subseries using a floating-rate note with soft put dates.