MTA Faces a Major Budget Gap

MTA Faces a Major Budget Gap

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is staring at a deficit of more than $5 billion since the coronavirus pandemic hit in early March.

On Wednesday, the MTA said that even if the federal government, which has already provided nearly $4 billion in aid through the CARES Act, pledges billions more, they will still see a shortfall in the budget.

Before COVID, there were over 5 million daily subway riders, the MTA predicted a surplus for 2020 through 2022. At the height of the pandemic, the number dropped by more than 90 percent. 

In an effort to prevent the virus’s spread, the MTA shut down overnight service and is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to properly clean and disinfect all subway cars and stations. 

“The MTA is seeking about $4 billion more from the federal government and has already identified more than $1 billion in savings for next year,” MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said Wednesday. “The initial $3.9 billion in federal aid will run out this month even if the government provides what the MTA is asking for, we cannot cut our way out of this crisis.”

Chief Financial Officer Robert Foran said they may need to increase transportation fare, after already doing so in 2019.

Board member Lawrence Schwartz said raising fees, “not a solution — New Yorkers are already burdened by high fares.”

Board member David Mack thinks we should implement a gas tax, similar to one passed in New Jersey in 2016, that funds transportation projects, gets cars off the streets and lessens the reliance of NYC on the federal government.

Photo: Patrick Carey / NYC Transit

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