The MTA’s proposed doomsday cuts won’t go into effect until next May if enacted — and would still leave the agency billions in the red, transit officials said Wednesday.
The drastic proposals to cut service by 40 percent and lay off 9,367 workers aim to close massive deficits created by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has decimated the MTA’s tax and ridership revenues. Officials have pinned their hopes of avoiding those cuts on getting a $12 billion bailout from Congress.
“There would have to be public hearings, once there’s public hearings, there would be a process that’s followed through,” chief financial officer Bob Foran told MTA board members Wednesday.
“We believe that the earliest we might be able to implement these would be in May of … next year.”
The proposed cuts add up to almost $1.3 billion per year — but still wouldn’t be enough to close the MTA’s budget gap.
In fact, even with the proposed cuts, the MTA will still be $3.1 billion in the red in 2021, Foran said.
The latest projections from consultant McKinsey anticipate ridership will rebound slowly, to 80 to 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels by 2024, Foran said — compounding the MTA’s already dire situation.
Additional fare and toll increases — on top of a 4 percent hike already scheduled for next year — are also on the table, Foran said.
The MTA is required by state law to pass a balanced budget every December.
“Failing to save transit at this pivotal moment is not an option. Should Congress fail to act, the MTA’s doomsday budget must be the absolute last resort,” Riders Alliance spokesman Danny Pearlstein said in a statement.
“At the end of the day, Governor [Andrew] Cuomo must do all he possibly can to safeguard our transit system and New York’s future.”