MTA Warns of Need for Fare Hikes

By Hamodia Staff

Kevin Willens, the MTA’s chief financial officer, speak during the monthly board meeting. (MTA)

NEW YORK — With an estimated $3 billion deficit looming for 2025, the New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority warned at their monthly board meeting on Wednesday, November 30, that they will be forced to hike fares by 4%, and perhaps even cut services or layoff workers if more aid is not forthcoming from the city and state.

With ridership still lagging behind pre-pandemic levels, the deficit, which was estimated in July at $3 billion has been adjusted upwards by $382 million, Kevin Willens, the MTA’s chief financial officer, said during the meeting.

Weekday subway ridership has only reached 60% of 2019 levels, and although the federal government has provided some $15 billion in Covid aid to cover the lost revenue, it is set to end in 2025, and the MTA is requesting an influx of state and city funds. Rather than using the federal funds to fix the budget gaps in 2023 and 2024, the MTA wants to spread out the federal coronavirus aid through 2026, which would necessitate additional funds sooner.

The MTA proposed a 5.5% fare and toll hike that would raise the cost of a train or bus ride from $2.75 to $3.05. The MTA generally boosts fares every two years, but delayed such hikes during the pandemic.

It’s also necessary as the agency will negotiate a new labor contract with Transport Workers Union Local 100, which expires on May 15, said Janno Lieber, MTA’s chief executive officer.

“We need to resolve this in order to have a meaningful negotiation,” Lieber said. “We cannot have a negotiation about contracts and benefits and wage rates if we don’t know where we’re going to be financially in a year.”

MTA also expects to cut expenses by $1.3 billion from 2023 through 2026.

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