“The Comptroller’s report makes it clearer than ever: riders need a new paradigm for the way the MTA is funded and the way our elected leaders approach its operating funding. As the fiscal cliff looms closer than ever— likely even closer than the MTA and McKinsey have forecasted— the state and federal government must find a new way to fund transit in a world with lower post-COVID ridership.
“The MTA makes up nearly 40% of the nation’s transit riders, but receives 16% of federal transit operating funds. The Comptroller points out that before the pandemic, the MTA hadn’t gotten federal operating funding since 1997. It’s time for that to change. Our transit system moves the entire region and country’s economy, and riders need their federal and state governments to drastically increase funding for transit operations in the next budget, if not sooner. The use of federal funds to reduce out year debt is a short-term solution to a long- term problem. The long- term solution must be sustainable and dedicated operating funding.
“The Comptroller confirms what riders have experienced for the last two and a half years: while COVID- related issues led to less frequent and reliable service, frustration with ongoing decreases in reliability have kept more riders from getting back on board, with more regularity. Improving service will improve the MTA’s financial future by showing more riders around the region that transit is the way to go.”