NEW YORK — A COVID-19 economic relief package reached Sunday includes $4 billion to help the ailing Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Sen. Chuck Schumer said.
“It should keep our subways running and our buses running without the kinds of cutbacks that people were worrying about,” Schumer said.
The MTA recently approved a budget that assumed $4.5 billion in federal aid for 2021 to defray costs and revenue shortfalls from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials cautioned that proposed service cuts of up to 40% on buses and subways and up to 50% on regional rail lines could be considered next year if the federal government doesn’t grant the MTA’s request for $12 billion in aid over the next four years.
The news of the federal aid was a relief for MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye.
“This crucial funding will allow us to get through 2021 without devastating service cuts and layoffs of over 9,000 colleagues,” Foye said. “To be clear, we are still facing an $8 billion deficit in the years ahead, but this is a promising first step that will help protect the local, state and national economies in the short term.”
Riders Alliance Executive Director Betsy Plum, whose organization advocates for commuters, applauded the aid news.
“The campaign to save transit took a big step forward for New York riders and the city’s future today,” Plum said. “In a harsh political climate, our transit champions Senator Schumer, Representative Jeffries, and their colleagues in the New York delegation held strong and delivered real relief for riders — more than $4 billion to keep buses, subways, commuter rail and paratransit running.”