The congress included $ 4.2 billion dollars to help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), as part of the new COVID-19 economic relief package that they approved last week, and although the funds that are still awaiting the signature of President Trump would give a breathing space to the train and bus agency of the Big Apple, the same will not happen with users.
With almost 70% reduction in revenue due to the lack of passengers since the pandemic began and a deficit of more than $ 12,000 million for the transportation agency, the ‘miracle’ of thinking that there will be no increases in the MetroCard next year, as the Mexican asks Julio Monroy and thousands of New Yorkers, They seem to be out of the way, at least for now.
La MTA He warned that the funds on the way will help considerably to curb possible layoffs and cuts in routes and service, but the rate increase is scheduled to be put to a vote in January or later.
The agency clarified that the budget of the public transport service assumes increases in rates every two years, as has been the case since 2009, and he warned that the capital, fixes and modernization program of the system will remain on pause for now.
“We are relieved and grateful that Congress passes another coronavirus relief bill which includes $ 4 billion in federal relief for la MTA. This crucial funding will allow us to pass 2021 without devastating service outages and layoffs of more than 9,000 colleagues“, said Patrick J. Foye, president of the MTA, adding that the horizon remains very cloudy.
“To be clear, we still face a deficit of $ 8 billion in the years to come, but this is a promising first step that will help protect local, state and national economies in the short term. We hope that future bills will fully offset the impact of the pandemic, as there can be no recovery without a strong public transportation system to serve as the engine of progress, “the official added.
It should be noted that if finally the relief package not approved by Trump, the MTA would see things the color of an ant, since it is counting on the $ 4,000 that the aid plan is giving it. The fear is that Trump, who required as a requirement for his signature on the law, that stimulus checks issued to Americans earning up to $ 75,000 a year is $ 2,000 and not $ 600, as agreed, leave the package.
Users concerned about a blow to the pocket
The MTA’s response to go ahead with its rate increase plan for 2021 did not please the vast majority of usersMany of them who are essential workers, as they assure that in the midst of the devastation caused by the COVID-19 crisis, there is no longer room for one more blow to the pocket, in something basic such as transportation.
“I think it’s the last straw that the MTA gets money and they don’t even put us on their priority list. We are in the queue of everything, “he said. the Colombian Jairo Castro, who works in a Manhattan restaurant as a cook, and who saw his income cut since last week when his work hours were cut in half. “In the midst of a situation like this, instead of thinking about increasing the MetroCard, which is already very expensive, It would be to tell us today as a Christmas gift that not only are they not going to raise prices but that they are going to leave the free service while things are sorted out ”.
Liborio Mendieta, originally from Guerrero, Mexico, He also joined the complaint and assured that the poorest New Yorkers have been “bombed” everywhere.
“In the rents they don’t help us, they take our jobs from the restaurants, they don’t give us any unemployment insurance or aid for not having papers and now they want to upload our MetroCard. The truth is that they pass. We are not worth for CuomoSaid the immigrant. “They are passing the train over us. It’s good that they give us a real break ”.
The Ecuadorian Julio Saquicela he went further and said that if rates go up in January, he will not buy more MetroCards and will sneak on the train.
“They should take care of us and treat us gently to those of us who work all the time to make the city work. This already makes me angry and the truth is that if they do not treat us with consideration, then we should all go in without paying to that they take us into account and appreciate us. It’s an abuse“Said the father of the family, from Queens.
The president of the Transportation Committee of the Municipal Council, Ydanis Rodríguez, He assured that he understands the serious economic situation in which the MTA finds itself, but called on that agency to give users a break.
“I hope that the federal funds they are receiving, the MTA can normalize what has to do with one of the worst deficits in its history, and that they can also keep any plan to increase transportation rates protected,” said the political leader.
“I hope the MTA does not rush to make decisions and wait for them to take power biden and harris, which according to the Democratic leadership itself is expected to give more financial aid to the MTA. I ask you not to continue with your increase plan“Added the Dominican politician.
Activist clamor for zero raises
Transportation activists also took the same side and assured that the federal move does not solve the needs of thousands of New Yorkers who demand zero increases.
Danny Pearlstein, of the organization Riders Alliance, that watches over the passengers of the public transport system of the Big Apple, assured that with the economic boost agreed in Washington, the subway and the MTA buses are protected from immediate cuts, but acknowledged that it does not address the great concern of passengers more people in need.
“The COVID aid package it won’t make all New Yorkers recover. Paying the transit fare will continue to be a struggle for too many, especially essential workers and low-income people who have no other way to get around, ”warned Pearlstein, who urged Governor Cuomo to order a halt to fare increases for the 2021.
“Governor Cuomo must stop the regressive rate hike and finding new progressive sources of funding for the MTA instead of trying to balance its budget at the expense of public transportation passengers, ”he added.
The executive director of the organization ‘Transportation Alternatives’, Danny Harris, warned that public transportation is “the engine that drives the economy” of New York City and recovery from the pandemic will depend on a fully funded MTA.
“Securing $ 4 billion for the MTA is a significant victory for bus riders, subway riders, and the future of the region,” the transportation activist said, warning that the next government urgently reaches into its pocket.
“There is still more to do, and we stand ready to work with elected officials and partners to secure the billions more needed for #Save Transit and fully fund the MTA. This also includes the passage of the congestion tax in Manhattan, and we strongly urge the incoming Biden administration to green light this funding measure without delay. “
The New York senator, Chuck Schumer, Senate Democratic Minority Leader, applauded the approved funding for the MTA in the federal relief package, saying they will make the Subway vitally important to keep the Big Apple moving amid its attempt to get out the other side. side.
“This (aid) should keep our subway and our buses running without the kinds of cuts that people worry about,” said the politician, who made no reference to the fare increases.
Despite money on the way, the MTA insists it will still need an additional $ 8 billion to avoid cuts in bus and train services by up to 40%.
The office of Governor Andrew Cuomo He did not comment on the matter and did not respond directly to the cry for him to intervene so that the MTA does not increase the rates.
Funding for the MTA in numbers:
- $ 4.2 billion would be the funds allocated to the MTA by the federal government
- $ 12 billion is the current deficit facing the MTA
- $ 8,000 million would be the deficit after receiving federal aid
- 70% reduction in ticket revenues amid the pandemic
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