New York Senator Charles Schumer is pushing to add another $6.5 billion for mass transit to the $819 billion U.S. economic stimulus package, calling buses, subways and trains the "lifeblood" of the nation's biggest city, dpa reported.
The Democrat's amendment to the bill would increase funding to $14.9 billion from $8.4 billion, including $2 billion for capital transportation needs, $2 billion for railways and $2.5 billion for new transit projects.
The extra funding may mean hundreds of millions dollars more for New York City transportation, Schumer said. The region typically gets about a fifth or more of federal transportation spending, he said.
"We want to make sure that this stimulus plan helps mass transit as well as highways," Schumer said in a press conference outside Grand Central Terminal today. "We all know how important it is to help mass transit; it's the lifeblood of our metropolitan area."
Last month, Elliot Sander, executive director of the state Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the New York City transit system and the Long Island and Metro-North commuter railroads, said the authority expected to get at least $1.5 billion from the package.
The additional funds could go to help maintain the city's aging transit network and fund expansion projects such as the Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access, which would bring LIRR trains into Grand Central, Schumer said.