By SAMANTHA CASTRO
Several public transit advocacy leaders rallied on Thursday to support the MTA’s $3.9 billion federal aid request, highlighting the need to transport essential workers to their jobs in the world’s biggest hotspot of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The rally was a follow-up to a letter sent by the Regional Plan Association to the New York congressional delegation earlier this week. In the letter, they urged Congress to include more aid for the MTA because of the important task of transporting New Yorkers despite a drop in ridership of 93 percent.
“New Yorkers riding buses, subways, and commuter trains today work in hospitals,” said RPA President Tom Wright.”They are receiving and sorting critical goods, and keeping grocery stores stocked. “We need the MTA to run enough transit service so that essential personnel and transit workers all have more space on buses and trains.”
The advocates also stressed the difficulty facing public transits’ ability to rebound as the epidemic lessens. New York congressman Adriano Espaillat, explained during the Zoom rally that reconstructing the economy and businesses greatly depends on local transit.
“As the crisis eases, New York will not return to work and other aspects of our lives primarily in automobiles,” Wright wrote in the letter. “We not only need the MTA to continue to function through the worst of the crisis, but also to be poised to rebound and again accommodate a large share of travel, including more transit accessibility, in the city and metropolitan region.”
The MTA predicts an $8.5 billion loss of revenue in 2020, including a massive drop of toll revenue, state and local tax revenue, and an increase in the cost of passenger and employee safety.