NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Metro area transit officials are hoping for financial help from the feds, but they say things are not looking good for commuters and their wallets.
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reports, even with a new president, the money train from Washington is not expected to save commuters from fare and toll hikes.
“It is not clear that there’s a clear path to funding, speaking just for the MTA, in the amount of $12 billion, which is what we need,” said MTA chairman Pat Foye.
That grim assessment came on the eve of an MTA board meeting to consider the agency’s dire fiscal situation.
The MTA has said without federal aid, it’s looking at service cuts of up to 50% on buses and subways, 40% on Metro North and the Long Island Rail Road, and 8,000 layoffs.
Even with federal aid, it will cost more to ride the rails.
“Does that mean that you’re still looking at fare hikes and toll hikes for the MTA?” Kramer asked.
“Our hand may be forced if the federal government doesn’t come through with the funding,” Foye said.
The MTA’s regular 4% fare hike, which doesn’t consider the COVID deficit, is set to go into effect early next year, but sources say the board is considering an even higher increase in tolls on bridges and tunnels.
Port Authority head Rick Cotton was not optimistic about preventing toll hikes on the Holland and Lincoln tunnels and on the George Washington Bridge.
“Our estimate over two years is that we will lose $3 billion worth of revenue. There’s no way that the agency can make up that degree of revenue loss,” Cotton said.
But, if you take NJ TRANSIT, your train may have come in: No hikes are anticipated.
“The people who are most impacted are the essential workers, so to be hitting them with a fare increase, to me, that would be the last thing that we’d want to do,” said Kevin Corbett, NJ TRANSIT president.
Even if the MTA gets barrels of money from the federal government, there’s one thing that’s not going to change any time soon. The MTA says it’s not going to resume 24-hour service until well after the pandemic is over.
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