New York Consolidated Laws, Transportation Law - TRA § 18-b. Statewide mass transportation operating assistance program
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1. Within the amounts made available therefor by appropriation, a statewide mass transportation operating assistance program is hereby established for the purpose of making payments toward the operating expenses of public transportation systems. For the purposes of this section, the term public transportation system shall mean any public benefit corporation constituting a transportation authority which provides or contracts for the provision of (under joint support arrangements) mass transportation services, or a subsidiary thereof, or any Indian tribe which provides or any county or city which provides or contracts for the provision of (pursuant to section one hundred nineteen-r of the general municipal law ) mass transportation services or any person, firm or corporation performing intercity bus passenger service as defined in subdivision three of section fourteen-g of this article serving two or more counties within the state which is under contract with the commissioner pursuant to such section fourteen-g to provide mass transportation services.
2. a. The commissioner shall pay to each public transportation system that makes an application therefor, in quarterly installments, a mass transportation operating assistance service payment. For the purposes of this section, the quarters shall be April through June, July through September, October through December and January through March.
b. For the quarter commencing April first, nineteen hundred seventy-five the quarterly service payment shall be the amount computed by the formula set forth in subsection three of this section.
3. The quarterly service payment made to any public transportation system shall not be greater than a sum computed in one of the following manners:
(i) In the case of commuter rail, by adding the certified number of commuter rail passengers multiplied by two cents per passenger and the certified number of commuter rail vehicle or car miles multiplied by twenty-five cents per vehicle or car mile.
(ii) In the case of subway or rapid transit, by adding the certified number of subway or rapid transit passengers multiplied by two cents per passenger and the certified numbers of subway or rapid transit vehicle or car miles multiplied by eight cents per vehicle or car mile.
(iii) In the case of bus lines, by adding the certified number of bus passengers multiplied by two cents per passenger and the certified number of bus miles multiplied by seven cents per bus mile. For the purposes of computing quarterly service payments only mileage accumulated in revenue service shall be used.
Whenever it is determined by the commissioner that the amount of money appropriated for service payments is less than the total amount of money for which all public transportation systems are eligible, the commissioner may establish on a quarterly or annual basis, a maximum service payment limit which is lower than that provided for in this section.
(iv) In the case of commuter ferry lines with the authorization for payment thereof for the fiscal year nineteen hundred seventy-five-nineteen hundred seventy-six to be in the discretion of the commissioner, by adding the certified number of annual ferry passengers multiplied by two cents per passenger, times the certified number of annual nautical ferry miles, times two-one hundred thousandths. For the purposes of computing quarterly service payments only mileage accumulated in revenue service shall be used.
4. a. All service payments shall be made upon an application of the public transportation system. Such application shall be filed between the second and the seventeenth day of the first month of each quarter. Upon application, the chief executive officer of each public transportation system shall certify to the commissioner, the total number of passengers such system estimates that it will carry and the total number of vehicle or car miles such system estimates that its equipment will travel in revenue service during the quarter for which such installment is to be paid.
Upon receipt and approval of such application and certifications the commissioner shall, by the tenth day of the next succeeding month, pay to the public transportation operator, the quarterly service payment.
b. The chief executive officer of each public transportation system receiving a quarterly service payment pursuant to this section shall certify to the commissioner, within fifteen days after the end of the quarter for which a service payment was received, the actual total number of passengers carried by the system during such quarter and the actual total vehicle or car miles the system's equipment traveled in revenue service during such quarter, and based upon such actual totals, the commissioner shall make such adjustments as may be appropriate in the amount of the service payment for such system for the succeeding quarter.
5. a. For each quarter, each county, municipality or Indian tribe served by a public transportation system which receives a service payment pursuant to subsection two of this section shall, not later than the twenty-fifth day of the second month of each quarter for which payment is made, pay to the public transportation system a sum equal to such service payment or its share of such service payment, except that in the case of a service payment made to a public transportation system on account of mass transportation services provided to more than one county (considering the city of New York to be one county), each county receiving such services from such system shall pay to the system a sum equal to its share of the service payment, which sum shall be determined in accordance with the percentage or dollar amounts established for such county by the legislature.
Where such county, municipality or Indian tribe is the public transportation system, sums equal to such service payment shall be committed to the use of the public transportation system, not later than the twenty-fifth day of the second month of each quarter. Such sums so committed shall not be used for other than the purposes of operating the public transportation system.
b. The payment or commitment of such sums by the counties, municipalities or Indian tribes provided for in paragraph a of this subdivision shall not be made from sums received in payment of fares by the passengers of such public transportation system or from any other revenues of such system.
c. In the event that a county or municipality shall fail to make to a public transportation system any of the payments required to be made by it under this section, the chief executive officer of the public transportation system or such other person as the commissioner shall designate shall certify to the state comptroller such amount due and owing such public transportation system and the state comptroller shall withhold an equivalent amount from state aid allocated to such county or municipality from highway aid, the motor fuel tax and the motor vehicle registration fee distributed pursuant to section one hundred twelve of the highway law , 1 or per capita local assistance pursuant to section fifty-four of the state finance law subject to the following limitations: prior to withholding amounts allocated to carry such county or municipality, the comptroller shall pay in full any amount due the state of New York municipal bond bank agency, on account of any such county or municipality's obligation to such agency; the city university construction fund, pursuant to the provisions of the city university construction fund act; the New York city housing development corporation, pursuant to the provisions of the New York city housing development corporation act (article twelve of the private housing finance law); and the transit construction fund, pursuant to the provisions of article five, title nine-a of the public authorities law. The comptroller shall give the director of the budget notification of any such payment. Such amount or amounts so withheld by the state comptroller shall be paid to such public transportation system, which system shall use such amount or amounts for the payment of the county or municipality share of its operating expenses. When such amount or amounts are received by such public transportation system, it shall credit such amounts against any amounts due and owing such system by the county or municipality on whose account such amount was withheld and paid.
d. The commissioner may impose a penalty in an amount not exceeding twenty per centum of any overpayment to a public transportation system whenever such overpayment results from willful failure to comply with the requirements of this section, or the rules and regulations authorized by this section, or whenever a public transportation system, or an individual operator that is a part of such system, knowingly files an incomplete, incorrect or misstated report. A public transportation system or individual operator may request and the commissioner shall provide an opportunity to be heard prior to the imposition of any penalty as provided for in this section.
6. Any federal financial assistance granted for the specific purpose of paying the operating expenses of any county, municipality, public benefit corporation or Indian tribe, eligible to receive service payments as a public transportation system pursuant to this section, received by the state or any municipality or Indian tribe after the effective date of this section, and made available to any such county, municipality, public benefit corporation or Indian tribe for application in accordance with the terms of the grant, shall be combined with any similar federal grant made directly to the county, municipality, public benefit corporation or Indian tribe to help meet the operating expenses of any mass transportation services provided for by any such county, municipality, public benefit corporation or Indian tribe whether directly or by contract. In the event that the total revenues of any public transportation system, including subsidies from federal, state or local governments, and where applicable, including funds required to be committed by the county, municipality or Indian tribe, exceed the total operating expenses for any such system, excluding depreciation, such excess shall be utilized by the system to reduce fares or to extend or increase mass transportation services. A plan to effectuate any such fare reduction or extension or increase in services shall be submitted to the commissioner by a public transportation system within thirty days of receiving notice from the commissioner to prepare and submit such a plan. Upon approval by the commissioner, such plan with any modifications made by the commissioner shall be implemented as soon as practical. Upon the failure of a public transportation system to submit a plan in the manner provided by this section, the surplus shall be utilized by such system to reduce the proportionate shares of the state and the county, municipality or Indian tribe required to make matching payments to the system, or in the event that no future payments are to be made to such public transportation system, the system shall proportionately refund such surplus to the state and the county, municipality or Indian tribe involved.
7. The commissioner may prescribe such regulations as he may deem appropriate to effectuate the purposes of this section, including but not limited to, a uniform system of reporting pursuant to the provisions of this section. The commissioner shall also define by rules and regulations, the terms “passenger”, “vehicle or car mile”, “urbanized area”, “chief executive officer”, “mass transportation services”, “service payment”, “commuter rail system”, “subway system”, “rapid transit system”, “bus system”, “peak hours”, “elderly”, “handicapped”, and such other terms as he deems necessary for the purposes of this section.
The commissioner, in conformance with the auditing procedures of the state comptroller, shall have the power to audit and examine the accounts, books, contracts, records, documents and papers of any participating public transportation system in order to effectuate the purposes and intent of this section. Where a county, counties, municipality, municipalities, Indian tribe or Indian tribes contract for the provision of public transportation services with a private operator, the books and records of such private operator shall also be subject to audit and examination by the commissioner.
8. The commissioner is hereby authorized to enter into contracts or otherwise cooperate with the federal government or any agency or instrumentality thereof for the purposes set forth in this section. Such authorization shall include the power to apply for, receive, distribute or, following appropriation authorization by the legislature, expend federal money available or which may hereafter become available for such purposes. The distribution of federal monies shall be in accordance with the requirements of the federal grant, except that in the absence of any required distribution the commissioner shall distribute such federal monies in a manner which gives due consideration to the relative needs of public transportation system operators throughout the state.
9. The commissioner shall prepare and submit to the governor and the legislature on or before November fifteenth of each year, a report, which may include, but not be limited to, findings and recommendations on the following: (a) the impact and effectiveness of the statewide operating assistance program; (b) the current and projected operating costs, revenues and subsidies of major transit systems or groups of systems; (c) the efficiency, effectiveness, quality and the availability of transit service; (d) the status of transit system long-range planning and development and use of service and performance guidelines to evaluate the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of service; and (e) issues related to and/or affecting the administration of the statewide operating assistance program.
10. [As added by L.1993, c. 500 . See, also, subd. 10 below.] Any street surface railroad in a city having a population of one million or more commencing operation after July first, nineteen hundred ninety-three shall not be eligible to receive statewide mass transportation operating assistance.
10. [As added by L.1993, c. 583 . See, also, subd. 10 above.] Any commuter ferry line commencing operation after July first, nineteen hundred ninety-three shall not be eligible to receive statewide mass transportation operating assistance.
11. To ensure that major private bus operations, as defined by the commissioner, do not make excess profits, the commissioner shall limit operating assistance provided pursuant to this section to an amount which will not provide more than a reasonable return based on equity or operating revenue and expenses as defined by program rules and regulations. Further, the commissioner may exempt the following from the provisions of this subdivision:
a. operations of private carriers that are conducted pursuant to contracts with New York state;
b. operations of private carriers that are conducted pursuant to competitively procured contracts awarded by municipalities; and
c. complementary para-transit operations that are provided as mandated by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. 2
12. To ensure that mass transportation operating assistance is not used to support duplicative and redundant service, the commissioner may limit or withhold statewide mass transportation operating assistance from any public transportation system for such services the commissioner determines to be duplicative or redundant. Prior to determining that a service is or would be duplicative or redundant, the commissioner shall consult with the provider of such service or the applicant proposing to provide such service and with any authority, Indian tribe, county or city which is contracting for such service or proposing to contract for such service.
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