MTA warns of severe service cuts, layoffs without federal funds

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is warning mass transit riders that severe service cuts and layoffs of agency employees are likely if funding from the federal government does not come through.

In its doomsday budget proposal to the agency's board of directors expected later Wednesday, the transit agency is reportedly expected to say that nearly half of weekday subway service would come to a screeching halt and more than 9,000 transit workers would be laid off.

The financial catastrophe has been amplified by the coronavirus pandemic.

"No one at the MTA wants to reduce service or layoff any of our heroic colleagues, period," said MTA Chairman Pat Foye. "No one wants to do that. Our hand may be forced if the federal govt doesn’t come through with the funding."

MTA officials have asked Congress to cough up $12 billion in federal aid by the end of 2021 to stay afloat.

Some of the other cuts will reportedly include laying off more than 8,200 workers on subway and buses… and more than 1,100 Metro-North and LIRR employees.

Some weekend service would be slashed entirely while weekday train schedules would be cut by about 40%.

Fare hikes are also a possibility. In August, transit officials said a Metro-Card swipe could go up from $2.75 to $3.75.

“The MTA’s budget proposal is an outrageous and cowardly surrender to the coronavirus, and a slap in the face of every transit worker… Tossing thousands of workers onto the street and leaving entire neighborhoods without service are not answers," said Tony Utano, President of the Transport Workers Union Local 100.

The Port Authority is also bleeding cash. The agency is asking Congress for $3 billion in federal aid.

"It means our infrastructure won’t be upgraded and even more importantly it means that we will be cutting back at exactly the time that the region needs, desperately an economic recovery," said Rick Cotton.

The MTA will vote on the cuts in December.

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