New York State’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), North America’s largest transit system, says it needs $ 12 billion federal bailout to weather worst crisis financial history.
“The MTA just can’t wait for relief from Washington any longer,” said Patrick J. Foye, MTA president and CEO, on Wednesday. “The economic future of New York and the country rests on a powerful MTA that fuels progress. If the Senate fails to step in and provide $ 12 billion, it would be a devastating blow to public transit as we know it.
Without help from the federal government, metro service could be cut by 40% and commuter train service by 50%, officials said at a finance meeting.
CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC LIKELY TO PROMOTE MAJOR CHANGES IN THE WAY TO REACH
It’s not just New York that is suffering, as nationwide transit has been hit with a double whammy of declining revenues and rising costs due to the coronavirus pandemic. Attendance is dropping as the pandemic has kept many workers and students at home. At the same time, costs associated with keeping trains and buses in service have increased due to new safety measures, such as deep cleaning and reduced capacity.
Seattle has experienced “an unprecedented loss in sales tax revenue and tariff collections totaling $ 280 million in 2020 and up to $ 615 million in 2020-22.” As a result, dozens of routes on the King County subway are expected to be suspended, reduced or canceled starting next month.
Two-thirds of San Francisco’s bus lines could be shut down permanently unless the city finds a new way to fund them, reports The San Francisco Chronicle.
CORONAVIRUS SENDING PUBLIC TRANSPORT PLUMMETING, AGENCIES IN ‘FINANCIAL CALAMITY’ ARE LOOKING FOR BILLIONS
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which operates mass transit in Boston, said in a report this week that ridership was down 90% from last year and projects a loss in fare revenue of $ 524 million. for fiscal year 2021.
The federal CARES law, passed at the start of the pandemic, has allocated $ 25 billion to transit agencies across the country. But as those funds dry up, transit groups have started calling for a massive bailout from the federal government. Dozens of organizations and politicians gathered this month for a virtual Save Public Transit rally, where they called for at least $ 32 billion in emergency funds.
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Congress is currently at a stalemate over further stimulus, and the bills being considered do not reduce it, according to the America Transportation Advocacy Group. The HEALS law, which is being pushed by some Senate Republicans, does not include money specifically for public transportation, and the HEROES law passed by House Democrats provides less than half of the $ 32 billion that industry leaders say they need it.