MTA chief warns of massive layoffs if federal aid falls through

The MTA could lay off 8,400 workers by November or sooner if the federal government doesn’t come through with a $12 billion bailout, agency chairman Pat Foye said Thursday.

“With respect to service cuts and layoffs, November board meeting or earlier,” Foye said at an event hosted by Reuters of a possible “cutoff date” for layoffs and a 40 percent reduction in service if the MTA does not get $12B in requested federal aid.

The MTA’s $51.5 billion five-year modernization plan, already on hold due to the fiscal impact of the virus, may have to be called off completely, Foye said.

“The system will begin to decline as it did in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and that feeds on itself and has economic consequences as well as operating ca service consequences,” he warned.

The MTA is losing $200 million per week due to dramatically reduced ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic. The requested aid would keep the agency afloat through the end of 2022, according to transit officials.

As President Trump and Gov. Andrew Cuomo face off over federal funding for New York City, Foye suggested the MTA and state were being punished.

“It continues to be the right thing in the national interest to fund the MTA, to fund New York State, to fund New York City, only the federal government can do that,” he said.

“Not advancing that funding in the middle of a pandemic, with 20 percent unemployment or higher in New York City and the region is punitive, it’s wrong and it’s not the national interest.”

The $18 billion-per-year transit agency employs a little under 70,000 people, according to data released in July.

New York Post

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