MTA warns of massive service reductions, possible LIRR branch cuts if federal aid doesn't come
The MTA issued a dire warning Wednesday -- massive cuts will start next year if the federal government doesn't step up to help it with more than $12 billion in funding it needs to get through 2021.
In an emergency board meeting, MTA President and CEO Pat Foye laid out the financial problems of the agency. He says the pandemic has reduced ridership by 75% across the board, including on the Long Island Rail Road.
For the LIRR, cuts could specifically mean a reduction in service, the elimination of one or more branches, 850 employees laid off, ticket windows closed and the delay of East Side Access.
He says the agency is losing $200 million a week. Without funding, he says there will be massive service reductions, fare increases, thousands laid off and even some branches of the LIRR cut.
The grim times at the MTA are worse than what happened during the Great Depression, Foye says. He thinks the federal government needs to act immediately.
"The survival of the MTA and the existence of millions of jobs in this region and across the country lies squarely in the hands of the federal government, the U.S. Senate to be specific," says Foye.
Foye would not give specifics on what exact reductions or even line cuts are being considered right now. He did say decisions would have to be made before the MTA board meets in November.