Facing a massive budgetary hole, the MTA will now slash 141 of its already-funded capital projects to save $40 million, according to agency documents released Thursday.

Compared to the drastic subway and bus service reductions the MTA will implement come summer, the cuts to projects ranging from the purchase of equipment to the upgrade of facilities are far less painful for straphangers, transit advocates said.

“This looks like the belt tightening we’ve all been looking for,” said Ellyn Shannon, transportation planner for the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.

The agency analyzed all 280 projects in its 2010 budget, and eliminated or deferred anything that was “just nice-to-have,” the documents show. Officials did not remove work that would impact safety or was legally required, the documents state. A MTA spokesman did not return repeated calls for comment.

The agency is scrambling to close a nearly $800 million hole by July, when it must put forth a new budget. In addition to reducing service, the MTA has decided to lay off workers and scale back overtime, among other measures, to bridge the budget gap.

Agency officials said they are looking to transit unions to give some concessions. So far, union leaders have resisted demands to eliminate conductors on trains, union sources said.

Here are some of the MTA’s proposed cuts and their savings:
IT upgrades: $18 million
Facility upgrades: $12 million
Auto upgrades: $4 million
Commuter train armrests: $3 million
Shop equipment: $2 million
MTA police K9 facility: $2 million

Source: MTA

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