MTA asks Washington for $4 billion as COVID-19 takes its toll

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NEW YORK – Ridership on Metro-North Railroad lines has declined by 90 percent as more people stay home following the advice of medical experts and that, coupled with losses on the MTA’s other systems – New York City buses, subways, and Long Island Rail Road, has prompted the agency’s chairman and CEO to ask Congress for $4 billion in federal aid.

That request was made to the New York congressional delegation on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, Chairman Patrick Foye said the MTA is “drawing down $1 billion on its existing line of credit as the authority continues its essential role responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, which crucially involves moving the medical professionals, first responders, transportation workers, child care workers, and essential personnel on the frontlines protecting New York.”

Foye said the emergency funds, which will be drawn down on March 20, “are critical as the agency encounters a fiscal cliff due to significant, sustained revenue losses and increased expenses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.”

He said the $1billion, which is important in providing liquidity, is not a comprehensive or permanent solution.