Manhattan Bridge-compressed Photo: Gane/Flickr

Earlier this month, Congress passed a five-year, $300 billion federal transportation bill. The bill has been dubbed the FAST Act, for “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” and is a shift from Congress’ historic practice of implementing short-term transportation measures.

Here’s what the bill does for NYC:

Reverses Federal Transit Cuts to NYC

FAST reverses a planned $80 million top line annual cut to New York City transit and increases annual New York State funding by three percent in the first year. Although the state supervises that money, officials expect it to support New York City’s subways and busses.

Commits Maintenance Funding

“State of Good Repair” funding goes to urbanized areas for repairs and upgrades to rail and bus transit systems that are at least seven years old. FAST raises funding to NYC by 14 percent in the first year and two percent growth moving forward.

Green Lights New Hudson Rail Tunnel

Senator Chuck Schumer says that the bill means that the Hudson Rail Tunnel project now has a “green, green light.” Hurricane Sandy damaged the current-old rail tunnel used by Amtrak and New Jersey Transit, and is in need of repairs. The federal government and Amtrak will now finance half of the cost of a new tunnel, and New York State will pay the other half.

Funds New Freight Program

FAST devotes $800 million to $1 billion annually to a “competitive multimodal freight program,” which could enable the CrossHarbor Freight Tunnel linking Manhattan and New Jersey across New York Harbor. The Brooklyn Queens Expressway could also see the Triple Cantilever, a large bridge improvement project in talks since 2009.

Improves Queens Bus Service

The bill funds “Small Starts” with a $300 million max project size and $100 million federal contribution. This will likely prompt a rapid transit line on Woodhaven Boulevard in Queens.

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