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NY State Comptroller says MTA will be $2.5B/year short after pandemic relief money is gone

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The New York State Comptroller has warned that the Metropolitan Transit Authority will be short approximately $2.5 billion a year after pandemic relief funds run out, leaving the state to grapple with how to make up the deficit without decreasing service.

State officials have sounded the alarm for months over decreased ridership and lower revenue since the pandemic hit in 2020, and some MTA leaders have said they are being forced to make some difficult decisions when it comes to closing the financial gap that will appear when federal COVID relief funding runs out in 2025.

The newest report by the state comptroller solidifies the cause for concern, according to MTA Chairman Janno Lieber. 

“The comptroller’s report validates what I’ve been saying for a year, which is the MTA has a serious financial crisis coming, because of what we all know, which is a loss of about a third of a ridership,” Lieber told CBS News this week. “What we don’t need is massive fare hikes and service cuts. We need a new financial model.”

The MTA says the possibilities for closing the deficit are not altogether very desirable for state residents or riders. Between raising fares by a whopping $0.79, raising taxes, or cutting service, MTA officials worry there is no good option.

Lieber told CBS News the MTA will do what it can to cover the funding gap by “restructuring our debt, by doing efficiencies on our own end, without cutting jobs.”

Politico report earlier this year showed ridership is expected to go down by 20 percent by 2026, adding additional concern to the already-strapped agency.

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