MTA could be forced to cut subway lines in ‘doomsday’ scenario, advocacy group says

Transit
MTA train

A Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) subway conductor prepares to leave a station in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK — Without federal funding, the MTA could experience a “doomsday,” with whole lines potentially on the chopping block, according to an advocacy group.

Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy group, produced a report, along with a map showing what the NYC Transit system could look like if severe cuts and service reductions are necessary due to budget a continued deficit.

The MTA is asking for a second stimulus package from Congress and President Donald Trump. Without another $3.9 billion, MTA Chairman Pat Foye has said the agency won’t survive.

“Dramatic MTA cuts would transform life for New Yorkers in a way approaching the significance of sheltering in place itself,” the Riders Alliance report said. “Isolating millions in their neighborhoods, they would compromise the city’s character to an unimaginable degree, rendering it difficult to recognize and woefully unlikely to recover for a decade or more.”

In March, Congress passed the CARES Act, which in part gave the MTA $4 billion to keep running while it hemmoraghed riders and revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Riders Alliance said several scenarios could be on the table, including eliminating whole subway lines, reducing service to local only trains, or shutting down bus and commuter rail lines.

These scenarios are not from the MTA, but from the advocacy group’s report.

“We are not going to have robust economic recovery if New York is allowed to falter and collapse,” said Danny Pearlstein of Riders Alliance.

Riders Alliance said the cuts would impact Black and Brown communities the most.

“Since large majorities of subway and bus riders are Black and Brown New Yorkers, transit service cuts also would inflict a severe, lasting, new racial injustice. The cuts could hardly come at a worse time, immediately on the heels of COVID’s racial disparate devastation and a resurgent movement for Black lives following several police murders of unarmed Black Americans.”

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