On Saturday, April 20, Speaker Heastie and Transportation Committee Chair William B. Magnarelli revealed significant capital aid allocations in the Enacted State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2024-25 budget, with a special focus on enhancing street and highway infrastructure across New York.

A total of $1.3 billion has been earmarked for various initiatives, including funding restorations for critical programs, provisions to combat toll evasion, and measures to increase stretch limousine safety.

Capital Investments

The enacted budget includes $1.3 billion for capital aid to localities, with specific allocations of $60 million for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs) and $40 million for the State Route NY Program. This significant funding aims to facilitate the smooth transportation of goods and services, fostering commerce and economic growth across the state.

Additionally, provisions have been made to support transit systems not part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), including the rehabilitation of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) passenger rail system, resiliency projects for the Metro North Railroad Hudson River Line, and the Joseph P. Morelle Intermodal Transportation Center in Rochester.

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Transit Operating Assistance

Key provisions in the budget include $333.2 million for upstate transit operating assistance. This year-to-year increase of $26.6 million, or 8.7 percent above the SFY 2023-24 level, reflects the Assembly's commitment to supporting robust transit systems. Furthermore, investments in MTA service enhancements and discounts are expected to improve frequency and operating hours, providing additional benefits for commuters.

Stretch Limousine Safety Provisions

The Enacted Budget introduces safety requirements for the operation of stretch limousines, including measures aimed at enhancing the transparency of vehicle safety information, providing safety equipment, mandatory retirement of stretch limousines, and imposing fines for the operation of suspended vehicles. These provisions are designed to enhance passenger safety and ensure strict compliance with safety standards in the operation of stretch limousines.

Combating Toll Evasion

The budget also includes comprehensive measures to enhance toll enforcement, focusing on addressing various issues such as obscured license plates and non-payment of toll liabilities. Provisions banning the use of fake or "ghost" plates, as well as prohibiting the sale of related materials or devices, aim to strengthen toll enforcement measures.

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