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PCAC Testimony – March 25, 2020 – MTA and COVID-19

PCAC Testimony Before the MTA Board
By Lisa Daglian, Executive Director
March 23, 2020
(recorded for March 25, 2020 Board Meeting)

My name is Lisa Daglian and I am the Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA. Thank you for this opportunity to provide testimony.

These are extraordinary times, nothing like we’ve seen before – not after 9/11, not after Sandy. We commend the MTA leadership and every one of the men and women who are moving New York and ensuring that front line workers can get where they need to go. Thank you, we salute you. We appreciate the Governor’s leadership in this challenging time, and that of all of our elected officials who are hard at work ensuring that the MTA will get the resources it so desperately needs.

Last week, Chairman Foye sent a letter to the New York delegation in Washington asking for at least $4 billion in emergency aid. We – along with seven other advocacy organizations – sent a similar letter, echoing our support for the MTA’s request. But given what’s happened just in the time between then and now, we believe there is a far greater need and that $4 Billion was a snapshot in time. No one knows how long this will last, how many people/workers will be affected, and what extra cleaning measures will be needed. Now, with no fares being collected on local buses, the losses will be exacerbated. We therefore call on our elected officials for at least double that $4B in order to keep the MTA ship righted now and into the future.

We are also calling on the MTA to increase transparency in what it is experiencing – the losses across all of its revenue streams, along with the how the capital program will suffer – or move forward. On one hand, it’s a great time to do capital work. On the other, social distancing is almost impossible on construction sites. Please do not wait until next month’s meetings to make this information available, update it in real time.

In addition, we ask for a pause in implementing the Outer Borough Transit Fund discounts.

Once this is over, there will be the opportunity to figure out the details of how to implement the complex program. Right now, there are much bigger complex issues to tackle.

Again, thank you for keeping New York moving. Please! Let us help you as you seek federal aid in this time of crisis.

Download here: 3.25.20 PCAC Testimony to MTA Board on COVID-19