Hike service

Hochul says infrastructure bill will prevent MTA fare hike and service cuts

Heading to Washington on Monday to see President Joe Biden sign a federal infrastructure bill, New York Governor Kathy Hochul had good news for New York City commuters.

The funding the state expects to get from the $1.2 trillion spending package should be enough to keep the state from raising fares for Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) users, Hochul said. during a press conference at Albany International Airport.

MTA officials approved a 4% fare increase for this year in 2018, but the authority’s board temporarily delayed it in January, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy. traffic.

Hochul told reporters that freezing the fare hike would help those who rely on buses and trains, “especially in this age of inflation.”

That’s important because increases in the cost of living are already affecting people in other ways, she said.

“It really affects people’s ability to just put food on their table,” Hochul said.

The infrastructure bill is expected to give the MTA, the nation’s largest public transit system, more than $10 billion in funding, according to a press release from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN .Y. The MTA-owned Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North commuter systems will receive an additional $2.6 billion.

This funding will mean that the service cuts announced by the authority in 2023 and 2024 are “out of place”, Hochul said.

While previous spending bills, such as the COVID-19 relief funding approved by Congress in December, provided money for the MTA, transit officials announced in February that the agency was doing still facing an $8 billion deficit.

Without addressing this, future service cuts would have been necessary.

As commuters celebrated the news, a key MTA advisory board said the bill the president signed into law on Monday gives the authority some time to recover from the pandemic.

The MTA’s Permanent Citizens’ Advisory Committee (PCAC), however, added that agency officials and New York leaders need to do more to shore up its finances.

“We must continue to seek more dedicated operating funds, so that we do not find ourselves in such a difficult situation in the future,” read a statement from the PCAC. “We will continue to work with the MTA and our states’ elected officials to find much-needed long-term sustainable funding options. We hope for the additional funds that our region – and our users – need to better rebuild and maintain the public transit system as possible and affordable for all.