Economic Consequences of Proposed Pandemic-Related Cutbacks in MTA Transportation Services and Capital Spending

Mitchell L. Moss, Director, NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, and Hugh O'Neill, President, Appleseed, Inc.

Since March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic and policies designed to contain it have had a devastating impact of the economy of New York City and the twelve-county region served by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Among other effects, the pandemic and the associated economic disruption have led to a sharp decline in MTA ridership and revenues. When combined with higher COVID-related costs (for distribution of personal protective equipment and disinfection of all subway and rail cars and buses) these revenue losses have plunged the MTA into the most severe financial crisis in the agency’s history. The MTA has said that without $12 billion in new federal aid, the MTA will have to reduce subway and bus service by up to 40 percent in 2021, and commuter rail service by up to 50 percent. The agency will also need to sharply reduce planned capital spending, including major system improvements included in its capital plan for 2020-2024. This report, prepared by the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation and Appleseed, a New York City-based consulting firm, provides a preliminary analysis of the dire impact that cutbacks in capital spending and services now being considered would have on the economy of the MTA region in 2021.

Report in The New York Times
Wagner Faculty
Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management