MTA OKs budget absent service cuts and fare hikes, for now

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An empty subway car (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK — New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has approved a budget that doesn’t include threatened service cuts and fare hikes, though officials say those options remain a possibility.

The budget passed Wednesday assumes $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.

MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said the only way to avoid cuts is to get federal help.

“We are closely monitoring events in Washington and will revise the budget and prepare necessary actions, depending on what our federal leaders deliver,” Foye said. “Congress should stay in session until passing a COVID relief bill that includes funding for public transportation. The MTA continues to face a once-in-100-year fiscal tsunami and this is without a doubt one of the most difficult budgets in agency history, with devastating deficits projected.”

PIX11 contributed to this report.

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