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U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D−N.Y.) said Monday the Obama economic stimulus package must provide more money for the city’s struggling transit system and he has already taken steps toward that end.
Schumer and U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D−Manhattan) discussed what they said was so far an inadequate shot of adrenalin for New York’s mass transit at a news conference outside Grand Central Terminal.
Schumer said the $8 billion earmarked for New York City transit in the Senate version of the stimulus bill falls short.
“We would increase that by nearly $15 billion,” Schumer said, referring to his amendment to the money bill, which provides for other forms of mass transit.
“In order for our economy to get the boost it so desperately needs from the stimulus package, we have to ensure there is enough funding to upgrade our nation’s transportation infrastructure — particularly mass transit,” Schumer said.
“The economic stimulus package would be a win−win for commuters and a shot in the arm for our aging mass transit system,” Schumer said.
“We are going to work day and night to make sure this stimulus package gives New York’s subways, buses and rails the boost they need to keep our mass transit system on track,” Schumer said.
Schumer said the hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding would go directly to long−delayed projects and would immediately improve the quality and efficiency of service.
“Second, it would help the MTA cope with its budget problems caused by massive increases in ridership, and third, the money would prime the pump of our regional economy and create good jobs quickly,” Schumer said.
Last week Nadler led the fight in the House of Representatives to increase funding for mass transit by $3 billion on top of the $9 billion the House bill already contained.
Schumer and Nadler said the “capital pot” must increase to reflect what they called out−of−control capital costs for transit systems, as well as for new projects like the Second Avenue subway in Manhattan and the East Side Access to bring Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central Terminal.
Nadler is a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The House passed its version of the stimulus legislation last week and the Senate is expected to vote on its version possibly by the end of this week.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 136.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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