MTA Faces $2.5 Billion Deficit Once Aid Runs Out, Group Says

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority will face ongoing budget shortfalls of nearly $2.5 billion a year after the emergency federal aid extended to the mass-transit agency runs out, according to the Citizens Budget Commission.

The MTA, which operates New York City’s subways, buses and commuter rail lines, will receive a combined $14.5 billion of federal aid that will help cover revenue shortfalls into 2024 after subway ridership plunged by as much as 90% during the pandemic. To address potential deficits beyond 2024, the MTA will need to operate more efficiently and cut costs, according to the report released Tuesday by the CBC, a business-backed budget watchdog.

“While the path to achieving operating savings is hard, it is much preferable to phase in these savings over the next few years than to have massive fare and toll increases, economically damaging service cuts, or significant increases in dedicated taxes and subsidies,” Alex Armlovich, senior research associate at the CBC, wrote in the report.

The shortfall estimates comes as the MTA, the largest U.S. public-transit operator, is set Wednesday to release updated financial and ridership forecasts at its monthly board meeting.

The MTA may continue to delay a planned 4% fare increase, with several board members in favor of pushing the fee hike into 2022 and looking for new revenue sources to help finance the agency.

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