LIRRCC’s newly appointed Chair, Gerry Bringmann, penned a letter to the editor in Sunday’s edition of Newsday calling for the federal government to provide emergency aid to the MTA.
Below is the letter:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is facing an unprecedented fiscal emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, needing as much as $12 billion to get through 2021.
Without federal relief, Long Island Rail Road riders face deep service cuts, significant fare hikes and reduced cleaning. Layoffs would further erode our fragile economy.
“Ease the pain” [Editorial, July 26] noted that the MTA is “ … a crucial ingredient in a dynamic economy. Supporting [it and other transit agencies] is costly, but letting them languish would be far more expensive.”
It also could be deadly. Service cuts would lead to overcrowded trains and eliminate any possible social distancing — critical to getting through this pandemic. At the same time, system modernization is on hold and in jeopardy. Long Islanders deserve a 21st century system and we were close to seeing that dream realized. Without reliable transit, Long Islanders will give up on the train and opt to drive, clogging the roads and our air.
The LIRR is a vital economic engine for the region. Our recovery cannot happen without critical federal aid now being debated in Washington. The message to Congress must be loud and clear: Long Islanders rely on the MTA and the MTA is relying on you!
Editor’s note: The writer is chair of the Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council.