Why the MTA has Georgia on its mind

Bedford Avenue Subway stop.
Bedford Avenue Subway stop.
Marc A. Hermann/MTA
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority is counting on a Democratic win in the upcoming Georgia run-offs to ensure the struggling transit system receives a $12 billion federal bailout.

Why the MTA has Georgia on its mind

A Senate win in Georgia could mean more funding for the MTA
November 20, 2020

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority is counting on a Democratic win in the upcoming Georgia run-offs to ensure the struggling transit system receives a $12 billion federal bailout.

The MTA needs the bailout by the end of next year to make up for a drop in revenue caused by a drop in ridership due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as for increased maintenance costs, said MTA Chairman Pat Foye.

Georgia also will be impacted if the MTA is unable to get the federal funding it needs, according to Foye. Subcontractors and suppliers for the MTA based in Georgia generate $438 million revenue and create 4,500 jobs in the state. Without funding the MTA is likely to lay off more workers in addition to spending cuts in Georgia, Foye said.

“No one at the MTA wants to reduce service or lay off any of our heroic colleagues period, no one wants to do that,” said Foye. “Our hand may be forced if the federal government doesn’t come through with the funding.” 

A relief package called “The Heroes Act,” previously included MTA funding, however it was not renewed in the Senate after it expired and lacked the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. A reversal on support could come with Democratic wins in the Georgia run-offs between GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock, and Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff will take place Jan. 5.

Locally, the MTA has proposed a congestion pricing program that taxes motorists driving south of 61st street in Manhattan to pay for billions of dollars in subway repairs. However, the MTA still needs approval at the federal level for the program, which could generate up to $15 billion in revenue for repairs. 

It also will help having President-elect Joe Biden, a well-known advocate of the transportation industry, in office. ”While President-elect Biden has injected a note of optimism into our financial planning, a high degree of uncertainty remains,” said Foye.

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Destine Manson
is an editorial intern at City & State.
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