MTA seeking bailout money from feds
MTA officials were in Washington today lobbying for bailout help for transit systems as speculation grew that the agencys severe budget deficit next year would force the elimination of subway lines, among other nightmarish scenarios.
The MTA is facing an enormous deficit that will not be closed with any easy
solutions, Gov. David Paterson said in a statement.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority representatives met with Washington officials asking to be included in any future stimulus packages, said agency spokesman, Jeremy Soffin. They also joined their counterparts from 11 others transit agencies in asking the Treasury Department to guarantee $2 billion in lease deals previously backed by the failed insurance giant AIG.
Like other transit agencies, the MTA entered into deals in which it sold rail cars and other equipment to banks and then leased them back at a discount.
Soffin would not say how much money the agency has on the line as a result of the AIG-backed deals. He would only say that our exposure is less than the others.Meanwhile, the MTA board will reportedly unveil a budget Thursday that will call for the elimination of the W and Z subways lines, service cuts on the G and M lines, cancellation of weekend and late night service on dozens of buses as well as layoffs for 1,500 workers.
This is in response to a $1.2 billion budget deficit the MTA is forecasting in its $10.9 billion budget for next year.
Paterson has formed a commission to come up with solutions to the deficit. The Ravitch Commission, which is to release its recommendations Dec. 5, will reportedly call for tolls on all East River bridges.
Right now, the federal government provides about $1.5 billion a year to the MTA for capital projects, according to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The federal government certainly needs to step up its funding for public transportation, he said.
Marlene Naanes and the Associated Press contributed to this report.