25 Aug 2020
Joint Public Hearing: Impact of COVID-19 on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Public Transportation
Online Virtual Public Hearing
Joint – Senate Standing Committee on Transportation
Chair: Senator Timothy M. Kennedy
Senate Standing Committee on Corporations
Chair: Senator Leroy Comrie
and Assembly Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions
Chair: Assembly Member Amy Paulin
Public Hearing: Impact of COVID-19 on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Public Transportation
Place: Online; : https://www.nysenate.gov/events https://www.nyassembly.gov/av/live/
Time: 10:00 A.M.
Contact: Kristen Olby (518) 455-4857; Mobeen Bhatti (518) 455-2045
Media Contact: Senate Majority Press Office (518) 455-2415;
Assembly Press Office (518) 455-3888
ORAL TESTIMONY BY INVITATION ONLY
Subject: Impact of COVID-19 on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and public transportation
Purpose: To investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), as well as seek input to avoid further spread of the virus in its facilities, and evaluate best practices for virus containment and emergency management that have emerged.
Before COVID-19, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) network served approximately 8.6 million riders per day. By late May, at least 123 MTA employees had died due to COVID-19 and thousands had been quarantined. Further, the MTA continues to argue it faces a dire financial calamity due to lost ridership, other diminished revenues, and increased costs incurred to fight the virus. The MTA has already received $3.9 billion, nearly its full initial request, in federal CARES Act assistance. The Authority argues it needs at least an additional $3.9 billion of federal assistance to continue operating through the end of 2020. Without that funding, the MTA announced it would have to take extraordinary actions that might include significant cost-cutting actions or raising fares and tolls.
This hearing will explore the effects of COVID-19 on the MTA’s infrastructure, employees, and riders, and investigate potential policy changes to prepare the system for future pandemics and determine what steps are needed to ensure the MTA’s continued operations. The hearing will also explore the MTA’s existing policies and guidance on pandemic and emergency response and modifications in response to COVID-19 and their effectiveness, as well as distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), safety protocols, employee training, and the effectiveness of public awareness during the State of Emergency. Finally, the hearing will examine how the MTA has used the financial and legislative assistance provided over the last several months by governments at the federal, state, and local levels.
Persons invited to present pertinent testimony to the Committees at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified of means by which to testify and/or in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.
Oral testimony will be limited to 5 minutes’ duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak and to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible.
Attendees and participants at any legislative public hearing should be aware that these proceedings are video recorded. Their likenesses may be included in any video coverage shown on television or the internet. In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee’s interest in hearing testimony from all sources.
In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Legislature, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to the Senate’s facilities and activities.