Jan. 12, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
The MTA has been sent more than $6 billion in COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer announced Wednesday.
The bailout, a near $6.2 billion lump sum, is the largest one-time payment ever awarded by the Federal Transit Administration, an agency within the U.S. Dept. of Transportation.
Schumer said the funds would save the cash-strapped agency from a “COVID-catalyzed brink of death.”
“The bottom line is that without the money that we were able to get, the subway system never would have bounced back,” Schumer said in a morning press briefing via Zoom.
The funds, Schumer said, will keep the agency’s mass transit network operating, support the economy and stave off potentially thousands of MTA workers being furloughed.
The MTA requested the COVID-19 relief funds since the pandemic has led to a substantial dip in ridership and revenue – spiraling the agency deep into the red.
For instance, 2.267 million riders took the subway Tuesday, which is about 42 percent of the ridership level pre-pandemic, according to MTA data.
Schumer said it was important that the money be released all at once.
“In the past, these subsidies have trickled down and the MTA was never sure they could plan ahead,” Schumer said. “But this $6 billion gives them deep, deep liquidity.”
Schumer said the money would also go towards funding the MTA’s capital program – a $54.8 billion investment project in the region’s subways, buses, commuter railroads, bridges and tunnels.
MTA Acting Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said the injection of funds will support the entire transit system and help rebuild New York’s economy.
“This funding helps the MTA continue to provide top-tier service and in the near term avoid fare increases,” Lieber said in a statement.
The rescue package brings the total amount of money received by the MTA from the federal government to more than $14 billion over the course of the pandemic – with more funds on the way.
The agency is expected to receive a $10 billion windfall from the infrastructure bill signed into law by President Biden in November.
When District Attorney’s fail to prosecute fare evaders, it will only continue to grow. The MTA NYC Transit subway, bus, Staten Island Railway, Long Island Rail Road and Metro North Rail Road pre COVID-19 lost several hundred million per year due to fare evasion. Every dollar lost counts. It has to be made up on the backs of honest riders and taxpayers.
Transportation Advocate, Historian and Writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration NY Region 2 Office.
That $6.2 billion will go to installing that one elevator that will eventually be used as a port-a-potty.
So let me get this straight, since subway ridership is unlikely to ever return to normal, the federal government will just keep giving them billions indefinitely so they can stay afloat? They will have to figure out a way to adjust at some point..
The fact that they are not able to adjust to a decrease in ridership just accentuates the years and years or poor management and corruption. They should be subject to capital requirements just like the too big to fail banks so they can plan for these types of situations and be able to stay afloat when they happen. The more shocking thing is everyone was upset when the big banks got bailed out yet noone cares when the government bails out organizations that are even more corrupt and commit just as much fraud.
The subways, buses and railroads are vital to NYC. Period. This infusion of funds is a good thing for NY. Fares aren’t going up this year despite the drop in ridership and the Omicron tsunami that slammed NYC really hard.
Now it’s on Mayor Adams to clean up the subway crime. If that happens, and the pandemic retreats to a more manageable risk level this year, you will see ridership rebound. Maybe not for old farts like me and Larry Penner, but for the younger people who are going to keep this great city alive and thriving long after we’re gone.
This is a bailout. A subway system that’s in shameful shape… nothing to be proud about. Despicable form NYC/NYS.
There is more to Senator Schumer’s announcement that the Federal Transit Administration released a $6 billion dollar grant to the MTA for CARE COVID-19 relief. These funds were made available in March, 2021. Why did it take ten months for the MTA to obtain the approved grant? This grant brings the total amount of CARE COVID-19 relief funding from Washington for the MTA to $14 billion. What Schumer neglected to mention was how much of these funds have been paid for rather than how much have been borrowed adding to our $29 trillion and growing national debt. He said “it is a public service and the higher percentage we get from city, state and federal help the better” Funding for the MTA has always been a four way partnership between what riders pay at the farebox along with city, state and federal funding. Commuters and Washington always ante up. Will Schumer hold one of his press conferences to ask Governor Kathy Hochul, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Steward Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to increase Albany’s contribution? Will he also ask NYC Mayor Eric Adams, Comptroller Brad Ladner, and NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams increase City Hall’s contribution? Schumer never explained why many other transit agencies around the nation already received their second and third rounds of funding ahead of the MTA.
Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, NJ Transit along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ)
Where was your outrage over the growing national debt when Trump passed the massive tax cuts for the rich?
NY is getting back on its feet. I’m rooting for its rebound, and grateful we were able to get a lot of federal help.
Oh and that’s federal funds, so that means people who live in say Wyoming or some other states and have never ridden a subway train in their lives are paying for this. The mta is no longer satisfied with ripping off New Yorkers, they’re now going for the whole country.
And in NYC we don’t benefit from the FTA’s Rural Transit Assistance Program…
You know New York sends billions of dollars more to the feds than it receives to the funding right? Wyoming on the other hand takes more in federal funding than they pay back. In March 2020 they were allocated $1.25 billion with a population of 578,000, less than 10% of NYC. You’re complaining about his? Find something else to be outraged about.
Top tier service? So people smoking crack on the j train is top tier? Running trains that never line up for transfers and leave riders waiting for twenty minutes at a time because of a five minute departure difference is top tier? Also they are not an agency they are a private company with City and state contracts. I guarantee that money will not go to improving the subway system. They never even cleaned during the pandemic. The stations are filthy, they have a mask mandate and most of their employees don’t wear masks. There are rats everywhere. They try to pass themselves off as a government agency but they don’t even have a government url ( .gov) for their website, a .info url is publicly available. They call themselves an authority, yeah so was The Sports Authority a government agency? No it wasn’t. What a load of crap. Real City workers get paid nothing compared to these assholes. Their ceo because he’s not an elected official, because they’re not a government agency will pocket that cash and cut in his corrupt cohorts. They spent how much on those video billboards? How about improving service? Oh wait, better service is not as profitable as advertising. Stop supporting corruption.
Mr Penner, what is your take on fare evaders? The increase in people jumping turnstiles is increasing and with public knowledge of this crime not being prosecuted will increase this crime a lot more. How much revenue do you think the MTA will lose because of this?
They will still raise the fairs.
they can raise it to a million dollars each way for all i care. i will NEVER take the mta again.
Right, you said you moved, and you aren’t a commuter, so your opinion on this article is worthless.
Thank you, Senator Schumer! Trump would never have helped NY like this.
when was trump a senator for NY? from one crooked corrupt politician like schumer to another crooked corrupt agency like the mta. dont worry, the money is already being re-diverted.
Trump never got an infrastructure bill passed. Biden did, and his Administration deserves the credit.
Trump only talked about funding for infrastructure, and he didn’t do squat about it. But even if he had passed a bill, he would have made sure the money would’ve been diverted away from NY. He is the king of crooked and corrupt, and is the biggest con going…hopefully to prison where he belongs.
“Plummeting Ridership ” is the cause of lost revenue?..Are they joking?..Could it possibly have something to do with the hundreds of millions lost annually because of fare beaters?..After all it’s not being enforced as it’s no longer viewed a crime.
Wouldn’t it be fun if all the money went into transit union coffers for some backdated bs union dues?
You’re saying you want to defund the $9 billion NYPD union?
Six billion should cover the fare evaders.
Whew! I was worried those executive bonuses might not be paid this year!