MTA calls for sweeping cuts, details $16 billion deficit through 2024

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The MTA announced budget cuts it plans to make in the wake of a multi-billion dollar deficit due to the pandemic. The agency says it's looking at a deficit of $16.2 billion by 2024.

The four-year plan calls for trimming non-essential services, which includes workforce, overtime and reducing commuter service.

The action would save the Transit Authority about a billion dollars next year.

In addition, the MTA wants to raise tolls above the scheduled increases.

The agency lost revenue as subway ridership dropped more than 90% and costs went up as it disinfected the system nightly.

The remaining budget loss for this year is about $3.8 billion or about 22% of our budget. Looking at next year $6.6 billion or about 38%, and for the total two year period, COVID-19 losses are $10.3 billion or 30% of our operating budget," said Bob Foran, MTA Chief Financial Officer.

Transit leaders say despite their best efforts, they will not be able to make ends meet without federal assistance.

The MTA is urgently requesting $3.9 billion to get the agency through the end of the year and a total of $10.3 billion through 2021.
The MTA will exhaust all federal funding previously secured in the CARES Act this month.

The budget crisis marks the most challenging in the agency's 52-year history as the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated revenue across all services and generated increased costs for cleaning and disinfecting.

"To say that these challenges are existential in scope isn't an exaggeration," said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye. "Without further substantial assistance from the federal government, anything and everything must be on the table with respect to responding to financial damage from the pandemic. We are the lifeblood of the region's economy and the fallout from Washington's failure to act would have national consequences."

"The fiscal reality of what we're facing is very clear and very dire," Foran said. "Without an infusion of billions of dollars in desperately needed federal funds, the MTA simply cannot provide customers with existing levels of service at the current fare cost. Not getting Federal support is not an option for the long-term health of the regional and national economy."

The MTA is currently losing $200 million a week in revenue from fares, tolls, subsidies and COVID-related expenses. This year alone the MTA projects $4.2 billion in fare losses, $2.1 billion in reduced subsidies, $880 million in toll losses and $500 million in increased expenses. Through 2024, the MTA projects fare revenue losses of $8.5 billion, tax subsidy losses of $6.9 billion, COVID-related expenses of $2.5 billion and toll losses of $1.8 billion through 2024.

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