MTA Press Releases

Press Release
April 16, 2020
MTA Issues Emergency Request for $3.9 Billion in Federal Aid as Congress Considers Next COVID-19 Relief Package

MTA Releases Third-Party Analysis Detailing Full Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic On 2020 MTA Operating Budget to Reach up to $8.5 Billion

 New Analysis Shows Worsening Drop in Toll and Farebox Revenue, Significant Losses in Other Dedicated Revenue Streams and Large Unplanned Growth in Costs to Ensure Customer and Employee Health and Safety

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today issued a letter to the New York State Congressional Delegation immediately requesting $3.9 billion in federal funding as Congress considers its next COVID-19 relief package. The MTA also released a new third-party economic analysis by McKinsey & Company examining the expected impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the MTA’s operating budget, which projects the full impact of the pandemic to reach up to $8.5 billion in 2020. The analysis examines how ridership will be impacted this year when the system begins to rebound, and projects a massive drop in toll and farebox revenue between $4.7-$5.9 billion, a significant decline in dedicated state and local tax revenues between $1.6-$1.8 billion, and a huge growth in costs associated with customer and employee safety of up to $800 million.

View MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye’s letter to the New York Congressional Delegation and McKinsey & Company’s economic analysis in PDF below.

“I am requesting that the next federal legislation include an additional $3.9 billion to stem the immediate financial hemorrhaging in the MTA’s 2020 operating budget,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye. “In a few short weeks, the crisis in New York has dramatically worsened and we are projecting significant additional losses as a result of the extraordinary economic downturn facing the region and nation. I thank the New York Congressional Delegation for their leadership in securing the first round of funding and we are once again asking Congress to step up and do the right thing for our millions of customers, tens of thousands of employees and for all of New York and the nation.” 

Last month, the MTA secured nearly $4 billion in federal funding through the CARES Act. The COVID-19 crisis has since worsened dramatically in New York, dwarfing initial estimates and requiring a new and detailed economic analysis. Ridership has declined 93 percent on subways, 95 percent on Metro-North and 97 percent on the Long Island Railroad with bridge and tunnel crossings declining 62 percent. The MTA is immediately requesting $3.9 billion in emergency funding from the federal government, which is the midpoint of the projected range of impact examined in the analysis on the MTA’s 2020 operating budget, after subtracting the $3.8 billion slated to be delivered in the CARES Act.  

A host of advocacy, labor and business groups joined MTA officials in calling on Congress to deliver for the MTA. 

Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City, said, “The safety and quality of the MTA transit system is the top consideration of business in re-opening the economy after the pandemic. This requires substantial federal assistance, given the losses suffered to date, and the business community urges the federal government to prioritize and adequately fund the transit system as a central element of the recovery plan.” 

Julie Samuels, TechNYC, said, “The MTA was making encouraging progress before this pandemic. They have continued to operate, helping move essential workers in the fight against COVID-19, but once the fight is over they are going to be the ones who need help. A federal response is more than justified for a system that facilitates the movement of the country’s economic hub.”

John Samuelsen, International President of the Transport Workers Union, said, “The war for New York is far from over.  Without this federal funding, the subway and bus system will quickly slide backwards. It will fall back into a state of disrepair and unreliability. We can’t let that happen. The system is just too important. Congress must deliver."

Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, said, “Our transit system has been critical to New York’s ability to survive the COVID-19 crisis, and the system will be essential to the re-starting of the economy when the time comes.  None of this is possible without federal support given the huge revenue losses the MTA incurred by maintaining service just to move essential workers.  Now, we need Federal investment, so the MTA will be there in future for the millions of hard-working New Yorkers who depend on it.”

Carlo A. Scissura, New York Building Congress President & CEO, said, “The MTA has been and continues to be there for New York in our greatest time of need – now it’s time for the federal government to do the same. A critical part of getting people back to work and life back to normal is the MTA being at full strength, and that requires direct funding from the federal government.”

Robert Wessels, Executive Director of The General Contractors Association of NY, said, “2020 was supposed to be a major step in rebuilding key elements of the MTA’s system. The pandemic has put those plans on pause, and without significant financial relief, puts those plans in jeopardy. We need a strong commitment from Washington to help our public transportation system recover, since, in turn, it will be the key to the successful recovery of both the regional and national economies.”

Lou Coletti, President of the Building Traders Employers’ Association, said “The MTA was in the midst of embarking on an ambitious capital plan that was going to reinvigorate the mass transit system in New York. This pandemic has altered those plans and without proper relief funding, can make those alterations permanent. New York deserves the best mass transit system and with a strong response from our federal government the MTA can deliver that.”

Tom Wright, President and CEO of Regional Plan Association, said, “Transportation is the backbone of the region’s economy and it is more important than ever to fund our public transit systems and keep them running during this crisis, so our frontline workers can get to their jobs. To stop the spread of COVID-19 we needed people to stay home and off the system. This led to drastic declines in transit ridership and a stark financial picture for the MTA. Without reliable public transit, New York’s economy will not continue to function during this crisis and it will take us much longer to recover when it has passed. That is why Congress must include transit funding in the next federal aid package.”

Nick Sifuentes, Executive Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, said, "History will remember how we all act now. New York City is the epicenter of the pandemic, and Congress needs to make sure our city can continue to protect its essential workforce now and get back on its collective feet after the wave has passed. The MTA provides the critical service and infrastructure to make both possible. Our buses and subways are shuttling workers to hospitals, grocery stores, and warehouses to keep New Yorkers alive, healthy, and fed, and when this crisis is past us, public transit will continue to play the central role it always has in the life of the city--but only if the federal government steps in with billions in rescue funding. Without it, we risk a transit crisis--and a public health crisis."

Danny Pearlstein, Policy and Communications Director of the Riders Alliance, said, "Congress needs to make New York's transit system whole. New Yorkers depend on transit now like we never have before. Nearly a million essential workers ride subways and buses to the pandemic frontline every day. To beat COVID and build back, New York needs well-financed public transit. State and city coffers are empty. Our leaders in Congress need to stand up for a fair relief package. Washington must recognize that the MTA moves 40% of the nation's transit riders and New York produces 5% of our GDP. The nation's recovery hinges on New York's and on safe, reliable public transit."

Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternativessaid, “Public transit is the lifeblood of New York City. As our city fights and emerges from this crisis, we must ensure that the MTA and all those who rely on it are well positioned to succeed and keep our city moving. Our MTA, despite incredible challenges, continues to move essential workers in New York City. Transportation Alternatives is grateful to the MTA and its brave employees for keeping our city moving amid this pandemic, and we strongly encourage Congress to provide additional funding to this mission critical agency, which has helped to define and build New York City.”

Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC), said, "New York’s trains, buses, and commuter rail move New York – and the region’s economy. The MTA is doing the right thing by keeping service going for essential workers, but must have significant resources to ensure it can meet riders’ needs both now and into the future. It’s critical that the federal government step up in this time of need and provide enough funding to support recovery and return to normal for the entire region."

Bill DeCarlo, National Vice President & Legislative Director of the Transportation Communications Union (TCU/IAM), said, "Members of the Transportation Communications Union (TCU/IAM) are working day and night to keep our trains and citizens moving across New York City and its surrounding regions. They're working overtime to clean stations, shops, and facilities - anything to keep our fellow New Yorkers safe during this pandemic. Congress can honor their heroism by providing adequate funding to keep our members and the general public safe. We're all in this together, but we must take bolder action to ensure our transit systems continue to function."

MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye’s letter to the New York Congressional Delegation and McKinsey & Company’s economic analysis