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Obama earmarks cash for city transit projects

TimesLedger Newspapers

President Obama has set aside $215 million for the Second Avenue subway and the East Side Access in his proposed budget, which U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) said would keep both projects going for another year.

“I’m grateful that the budget includes complete final funding for the first stage of the Second Avenue subway and continues funding for the East Side Access project in the 14th [congressional] District, the two largest public works projects in the nation,” said Maloney.

The East Side Access will bring some Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central, but the Second Avenue subway must be completed first so that it can handle the influx of more passengers into the already congested terminal.

A $123 million appropriation for the Second Avenue subway, if passed by Congress, would be the final installment of the $1.3 billion in federal funding that was committed to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority under the full-funding grant agreement governing the first phase of the project.

“The infusions of federal funding proposed by the president will help keep both projects on track for another year,” said Maloney, who has fought for both projects for years. “At a time when we need to continue creating jobs, I am delighted that hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding will be headed to two of the best job-creation engines and most important infrastructure projects in the nation.”

Maloney, who along with other members of the Queens congressional delegation, has opposed a GOP transportation bill that would end dedicated transit funding to urban centers around the country.

“While this is wonderful news, the transportation bill recently proposed by House Republicans would put funding for future phases of the subway in doubt, which is one major reason why that bill needs to be defeated,” Maloney said. “I thank President Obama for his leadership on mass transit when some congressional Republicans are running the other way.”

The GOP legislation would end automatic federal infusions of mass transit money for the city, using the money derived by gasoline taxes instead for the nation’s highways.

“It would quite literally massacre our mass transit system,” said Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights).

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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