SCHUMER: NEW YORK’S TRANSIT SYSTEM IS DESPERATE FOR CASH INFUSION TO WEATHER PANDEMIC; WITH RELIEF NEGOTIATIONS NOW DOWN TO THE WIRE, SENATOR FIGHTS TO SECURE ANOTHER $4 BILLION IN MTA RELIEF FUNDS ASAP
With NEW Deadline For A Govt Funding Bill Set For Friday, Schumer Says Mass Transit & MTA/LIRR/NJT Funds Must Be Part Of Any Final Deal
Schumer Already Delivered $4B To MTA Via CARES Act Months Ago—But With Pandemic Raging, Ridership Down & Costs Climbing, Billions More Will Be Needed Before President-Elect Biden Even Gets Sworn In
Schumer: Without Transit Funds NOW, NYC, LI, Hudson Valley & NJ Will Face Even Harder Recovery
On the heels of a now Friday, December 18th deadline to ink a spending deal, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said New York’s transit system is in such a desperate need for a cash infusion because of the pandemic, that if transit funds are not included in the down-to-the-wire deal, New York City, Long Island, Westchester and New Jersey will face an even harder economic recovery when COVID crests. Schumer, today, said he is demanding the inclusion of another $4 billion dollars in fed funds for the MTA—and overall transit funds for the country—as he made his push.
“I’ve said it before and I will say it again: mass transit is the lifeblood of New York and New York is the beating heart of the American economy,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “I am hard at work trying to deliver a second $4 billion dollars for the MTA to keep the system flowing, workers working, riders riding and the economy running. Without transit funds now, and also into the Biden administration, NYC, LI, Westchester and New Jersey will face an even harder recovery—and really—so will the nation.”
Schumer already delivered an original $4 billion in fed funds to the MTA as part of an earlier relief package this past March after the agency drew down on $1 billion in credit to keep the system afloat. Schumer said agency credit won’t be enough for the agency to weather the coronavirus crisis and that billions more in fed funds will be needed —during a Biden administration— to overcome the full damage done to the MTA by the coronavirus. Schumer said $4 billion in additional relief funds are needed this year and right now.
According to the Daily News, the MTA board will vote this week on an annual budget that could include 40% cuts to subway service and more than 9,300 layoffs if the kind of federal relief Schumer is fighting for is not passed. Moreover, daily subway ridership remains down 70% from last year, from 5.4 million trips per day to 1.6 million. The virus’ hit on the system has also caused a collective $12 billion hole for the MTA and their $17 billion annual budget, according to reports.
Schumer said, aside from supporting riders and the economy, federal transit relief will help prevent the furloughing of MTA employees, potentially thousands. In addition, the federal relief Schumer is fighting for would also help planned capital spending, needed to improve the system, continue.
On Friday, December 11th, President Trump signed a short-term funding bill, which passed the Senate by a voice vote, to keep the government open for another week, allowing for negotiations on the longer-term package to continue. The new deadline to keep the government open is now Dec. 18. The spending bill would fund the government until Oct. 1, 2021.
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