NEW YORKERS TO CONGRESS: OUR TRANSIT SYSTEM NEEDS MORE IN FEDERAL COVID-19 AID

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[MTA\COVID-19]
"New York will not return to work and other aspects of our lives primarily in automobiles. We not only need the MTA to continue to function through the worst of the crisis..."
Photo: YouTube

Leaders of 55 organizations representing a broad spectrum of New York's economy and civic life today strongly backed the MTA's call for an additional $3.9 billion to rescue public transit service and maintain operations for the remainder of 2020.

Signers called on New York's Congressional delegation, which includes many members of senior leadership in both legislative chambers, to make sure the MTA gets the federal funding it needs to survive the COVID-19 emergency.

Since early March, the MTA has lost more than 90% of its subway and commuter rail riders. Overall, between huge declines in farebox, toll, and dedicated tax revenue and expensive measures to fight COVID-19, the MTA is losing over $1 billion per month. The MTA’s $3.9 billion request for federal rescue funds assumes ridership will bounce back to 50% of pre-pandemic levels by year's end.

The letter from the 55 New York organizations comes a week after the MTA completed its pandemic damage estimate and transmitted its own request for aid to Congress. In their letter, the leaders of the groups emphasize the central importance of the transit system to the life and of the nation's financial and cultural capital. They argue that the New York City region, which provides 11% of the U.S. GDP, cannot recover from the COVID-19 emergency without a working MTA. "New York relies on transit to a unique degree among American cities," the letter reads.

"New York will not return to work and other aspects of our lives primarily in automobiles. We not only need the MTA to continue to function through the worst of the crisis, but also to be poised to rebound and again accommodate a large share of travel in the city and metropolitan region."

"Helping New York get back to work will be an important component of getting America back to work. In better times, the MTA moves 9 million people per day, and is critical to the daily function of a region that accounts for 11 percent of America’s gross domestic product."

The signatories include New York's leading advocates for transit riders, immigrants, union workers, and many more. The breadth of the coalition here signals the unique importance of transit to the entire city as well as the special role New York's influential delegation will have to play in addressing the MTA's funding needs among the myriad competing priorities before Congress.

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