To the Editor: Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Pat Foye said, "Everything's got to be on the table" concerning his budget crises. When will he acknowledge that the MTA already has the financial resources without a second $3.9 billion Federal bailout?
The MTA has $12 billion worth of Federal Transit Administration funding for projects and programs in active grants. Has a forensic audit ever been conducted to see what portion of these funds has not been spent?
The FTA made available $1.4 billion in 2020 Federal funding. The MTA can reprogram all of these dollars toward covering capital improvements and operating deficits as a result of COVID-19. FTA will make available $1.5 billion in Federal fiscal year 2021 funds for the MTA as of Oct. 1. This assumes Congress does its job for a change and passes a budget on time for the President to sign.
There is also $4 billion of local funding for the $6.9-billion Second Avenue Subway Phase Two, $1.5 billion for the Bronx East Metro North Penn Station Access and 1% Arts in Transit capital projects expenditure requirement. Stop wasting millions on outside consultants. All combined could provide the MTA with $6 billion more toward COVID-19.
Uncle Sam has a $26.5-trillion long-term debt. It will grow by another $1 trillion annually until 2030. Who is going to bail out Washington? Everyone can't continue spending money we don't have. Millions of Americans are making due with significant income loss. The MTA needs to do the same.
(Editor's note: Mr. Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office.)
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