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MTA Bets On Federal Help With Latest Budget

 Long Island Rail Road
Frank Franklin II
The MTA says ridership dropped more than 75% during the onset of the pandemic.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved a budget for next year that counts on a $4.5 billion bailout from the federal government. The MTA has threatened massive service cuts without the help. The MTA rolled out a doomsday budget last month that would include service cuts of up to 50% for MetroNorth and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), and up to 9,000 layoffs.

"Make no mistake: these actions, if we have to take them, if our hand is forced, will impair any shot at recovery for the state and national economies," Patrick Foye, chairman of the MTA, said it's now up to federal lawmakers to pass another coronavirus relief package that includes $4.5 billion to save the MTA next year.

“These are choices none of us here at the MTA want to have to make, but the choices we may be forced to make if Washington doesn't deliver,” Foye said.

Federal lawmakers should not go home for the holidays until they pass the legislation, according to Foye. He projected another $8 billion in deficits through 2024.

The LIRR will cut weekday service starting next month. Officials say that’s a temporary adjustment due to low ridership — not the budget holes.

Ridership dropped this spring and is still down about 75% compared to last year.

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.