The battle between the MTA & Nassau County has reached a new level. The two normally battle it out over the county’s routine shortchange of funding for Long Island bus, but this time it was over money owed from a loan.
15 years ago, the MTA agreed to lend the county $51M dollars & in return, the county had to pay back $102M which would go towards capital projects in the county. Most of the money had been paid but the MTA was owed more money & sued for the rest of it. The State Supreme Court sided with the MTA & stated the county is on the hook for the full amount. Alfonso A. Castillo of Newsday has more:
Already struggling to meet its financial obligations to the MTA, Nassau County may have to pay the transit agency an additional $20 million following a state court’s decision in a lawsuit stemming from a financial deal made between the two sides 15 years ago.
According to the suit, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority lent “the cash-strapped county” $51 million in 1996 in a “2-for-1” agreement in which Nassau agreed to pay back twice that sum in funds for MTA capital projects in Nassau.
Nassau issued bonds to raise the full $102 million and made good on $89 million of the capital funding it had committed to the MTA. But, according to the suit, in 2001 the county filed a lawsuit looking to get out of the agreement, arguing that the MTA had overstepped its authority in making the deal.
The MTA in April filed a counterclaim arguing that Nassau illegally reneged on its agreement.
State Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kapnick, in a Dec. 22 decision, granted the MTA’s legal claim “in its entirety” – ordering Nassau to pay the $13.6 million it owes the MTA from the original deal, up to $7.3 million in further capital funding, interest on the debt and attorneys’ fees.
Friday, MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin drew a parallel between Nassau’s failure to make good on its 1996 deal and its failure to fund LI Bus. “This ruling makes it clear that Nassau County’s obligations to the MTA are not optional and shouldn’t be treated that way,” Soffin said.
Click here for the complete report.
I am glad to hear that the State Supreme Court sided with the MTA on this issue. For too long, the county has neglected their responsibilities to the MTA & the services it provides to the county. They had major audacity to take the money & years later look to weasel out of paying back their debt. This one fact alone should show you how inept & corrupt the county has been with their finances.
This brings up another point, why is it the MTA seems to stand up to Nassau County but not Albany? As good as it is for the agency to get the money they are rightfully owed by Nassau, it is a drop in the bucket compared to the money they are owed by New York City & New York State. Is this a changing of attitude towards the government? Hopefully so as the years of shortchanging need to stop right now.
xoxo Transit Blogger