PCAC Testimony – April 22, 2020 – Supporting Federal Funding Request

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Greetings, my name is Lisa Daglian and I am the Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC. We hope that everyone is staying safe and are glad to see that those of you who were ill are doing better.

COVID-19 has been devastating to our region. More than ten thousand New Yorkers have lost their lives. That terrible toll includes more than 70 transit workers. We mourn their loss and extend our thanks and appreciation to the heroes who continue to make sure that people can get where they need to go.

During the greatest health crisis of our time, the MTA has done its best to maintain essential levels of service: it moves the New Yorkers who save lives and care for the sick, and all those who allow us to flatten the curve. Now the MTA is in dire need of lifesaving support – the kind that only the federal government can provide.

Last week, the authority sent a letter to New York’s congressional delegation, making an argument for an additional $3.9 billion in emergency funding to keep the vital system operational through this year. We support that request and would even ask for more: we don’t know the length or depth of this pandemic or how it will further ravage the agency’s already precarious financial situation.

The loss of revenue, combined with additional expenses, has put a serious hurt on the MTA’s budget. Basically, the MTA is going broke to help save New York. It is critical that it emerge from this crisis able to serve riders and support the region’s economy and recovery. And it’s not just service that’s in jeopardy; the future of the capital program depends largely on ensuring there is enough money to run the system without having to reach into capital resources.

The emergency funds the agency requested are an investment in the future health of the region and the millions of riders who rely on the MTA, and in the transit system that will ultimately allow us to get back in business and back to normal. We hope Congress is listening. Thank you.

Full testimony: MTA Board Testimony 4.22.2020

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