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NEW YORK CITY-The Metropolitan Transportation Authority needs to close a $9.9-billion funding gap for its 2010-2014 capital program, according to a draft report released Monday. As reported by GlobeSt.com, the bailout bill enacted by the State Legislature in May covers only the first two years of the MTA’s five-year program.

“Since this proposed program is a full five-year program as required by law, the MTA will work with legislative leaders to develop a funding package for the remaining three years of the program,” according to the report. Federal sources and MTA bond sales will also comprise a big chunk of the funding for the $28.1-billion plan, most of which is given over to rebuilding the authority’s core system.

Among other things, the MTA plans to buy more than 500 new subway cars, 2,800 buses and 410 rail cars; upgrade signals for its subways and commuter rail lines; and renovate stations, including improved access for disabled passengers. The authority also plans to replace its Metrolink swipe cards with a contactless payment system and make improvements to bus service including off-board fare collection.

Along with rebuilding, the MTA’s five-year program includes completion of the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway, the East Side Access project to provide Long Island Rail Road passengers with access to Grand Central Terminal and extension of the number 7 subway line to 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue. Funding for the 7 extension was included in the 2005-2009 capital program, according to Monday’s report. Additionally, the MTA will conduct studies between 2010 and 2014 of Staten Island’s North and West Shore travel corridors, the Queens Boulevard corridor, the Tappan Zee Bridge corridor and regional bus service.

Simultaneously with the release of the 2010-2014 draft, the MTA also made its “2010-2029 Twenty Year Needs” assessment available for public review and comment. The transit authority forecasts $128.8 billion in capital needs, including $84.1 billion for NYC Transit alone; however, according to the 20-year assessment, “the agencies’ needs are even greater than what is included in this assessment since more backlogged State of Good Repair needs exist than can be implemented.”

In a release, Helena Williams, the MTA’s interim executive director, says the authority is “ready to manage this capital program budget with new controls in place to mitigate risk, control costs and operate with full accountability.” Public input on the draft five-year plan will be incorporated into a revised plan that will be formally presented to the MTA board in September, before being submitted for final approval in Albany in October, according to the release. The MTA hopes to gain approval of the final plan by Jan. 1, 2010, the effective date of the new five-year plan.

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