In an effort to help the MTA get billions of dollars in federal funding, State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. virtually spoke before the MTA board to state the need for financial assistance as the authority is facing a multibillion dollar deficit.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of life here in New York, and the MTA is no exception. According to the Transit Authority, they are losing nearly $200 million per week due to the pandemic, and are projecting an operating deficit of $16 billion by the year 2024.
The MTA is in need of $12 billion in federal funding before the end of 2021 or it will face substantial cuts to the staff and service that would cripple New York and bring the economy to a grinding halt.
“New York City cannot begin to rebound from the effects of the Coronavirus without a substantially funded and reliable MTA,” Addabbo said. “Many of my constituents rely on the MTA to get to their jobs and access different parts of the borough, such as those on the geographically isolated Rockaway Peninsula. My concern is that if the MTA does not get the federal funding, it may have to seriously consider raising fares on riders who are already suffering financially from the COVID-19 pandemic with hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers unemployed.”
The Senator noted that while the city and state would continue to fund the MTA, the expanding virus-caused deficit dictates that the $12 billion in federal financial assistance is necessary.
Making cuts to the MTA’s $51.5 billion Capital Plan as a way to offset some of these losses would be devastating to the MTA, its workers, and riders everywhere. The funds earmarked for the Capital Plan are to be used to make much-needed upgrades to modernizing the MTA’s signaling system, increasing ADA accessibility in several stations, and for vital repair work that will increase the system’s longevity.
“We cannot have a roadmap for NYC to navigate its way to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic without that roadmap including federal financial assistance for the MTA,” Addabbo added. “Those funds will be necessary to protect the future of the MTA, its essential services, its valuable workers, and the riders who use the buses and trains on a daily basis.”