(The Center Square) – On her way to Washington on Monday to watch President Joe Biden sign a federal infrastructure bill, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has had good news for New York City commuters.
The funding the state expects to get from the $ 1.2 trillion spending envelope should be enough to prevent the state from raising user fares for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), said Hochul at a press conference at Albany International Airport.
MTA officials approved a 4% tariff 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 city. ‘traffic.
Hochul told reporters that freezing the fare hike would help those who depend on buses and trains, “especially in this age of inflation.”
This is important because the rising cost of living is already affecting people in other ways, she said.
“It really affects people’s ability to just put food on their tables,” Hochul said.
The infrastructure bill is expected to give the MTA, the nation’s largest 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 networks will receive an additional $ 2.6 billion.
This funding will mean that the service cuts announced in 2023 and 2024 are “off the table,” Hochul said.
While previous spending bills, such as the COVID-19 aid funding approved by Congress in December, provided money for the MTA, transit officials announced in February that the The agency still faced 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 on Monday gives the authority some time to recover from the pandemic.
The Permanent Citizen’s Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC), however, added that agency officials and New York executives needed to do more to consolidate its finances.
“We must always continue to seek more dedicated operating funds, so that we are not placed in such a difficult situation in the future,” said a statement from the PCAC. “We will continue to work with the MTA and our elected state officials for long-term, much-needed sustainable funding options. We look forward to the additional funds our region – and riders – need to better rebuild and maintain the transit system as much as possible and affordable for all. “