NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)- Reduced service, possible layoffs, even more crowded trains — that’s the dire picture a public transportation coalition, led by the MTA, painted during a virtual rally Tuesday, desperate to get the federal government’s attention.
“Without action by the Senate, we don’t have a path forward without cuts that will devastate our system,” said MTA Chairman Pat Foye said.
Foye, along with other agencies, pleaded for a second stimulus package from Congress. Without another $3.9 billion, the MTA says it won’t survive.
Advocate Danny Pearlstein with the Riders Alliance says the cuts would be crippling.
“Transit-dependent New Yorkers, low-income New Yorkers, many New Yorkers in communities of color would be utterly isolated from access to the city,” Pearlstein told CBS2’s Christina Fan.
While the MTA isn’t specifying how service would be impacted, the Riders Alliance drew up several possible scenarios, including:
- Eliminating entire subway lines
- Reducing service to local only trains
- Or shutting down commuter rail and bus lines.
“They sound all really bad,” said commuter Nicole Dominguez. “As somebody that’s lived here for six years and I rely on this, doesn’t work.”
“I don’t have a car, I don’t drive, I need the train,” said commuter Jose Jaquez.
The strong rebuke from riders is why advocates are pleading for the Senate to act now, as senators prepare to debate the next coronavirus relief package.
“To keep, to go to the MTA, we are going to fight to keep that in. We were able to keep it last time,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. “We got them $4 billion in the last bill. We expect we’ll be able to keep it in in this bill.”
Schumer said that he anticipates the relief will be approved in two to three weeks. The MTA says timing is crucial – as the money from the previous relief package is expected to run out at the end of July.