NY MTA head says he'd accept further federal monitoring in exchange for $12B in aid

NY MTA head says he'd accept further federal monitoring in exchange for $12B in aid
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Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman Pat Foye said the New York transit agency would accept renewed federal monitoring in exchange for a $12 billion bailout to boost its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Foye told radio talk show host John Catsimatidis on "The Cats Roundtable" on Sunday that the agency would “absolutely” be willing to work with the Transportation Department’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA), as it did when it received funds from the CARES Act in March.

“We are not looking for, nor do we expect, a blank check. We realize that we’re going to have to show that we have these increased costs, and that revenues have been reduced significantly as a result of the pandemic. And we are prepared absolutely to do that with FTA when an MTA relief bill passes,” Foye said on WABC 770 AM.

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The MTA received nearly $4 billion in the March CARES Act, and in July its leaders requested another $3.9 billion in the next coronavirus relief package. The House-passed relief bill included $15.7 billion for public transportation overall, but Senate GOP leaders have said they will not take up that measure.

"The $3.9 billion that the MTA got in the CARES Act, we exhausted it on July 24th. We were the first public transit agency in the country to exhaust our funding. Every dollar that we got, we had to report to U.S. DOT that we expected X dollars of revenue in April and X dollars of revenue in May, that we had additional expenses for instance, for disinfecting subway stations and subway cars, and we had to report that to the Federal Transit Administration which is part of U.S. DOT in Washington. We were able to make that case," Foye said.

Abbey Collins, an MTA spokesperson, later said that Foye “was simply stating that providing documentation, as the MTA did for the CARES Act funding, has always been par for the course and we would expect nothing more or nothing less going forward.”

Talks between Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election Will Democrats attempt to pack the Supreme Court again? MORE (D-Calif.) and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election White House chief of staff knocks FBI director over testimony on election fraud Anxious Democrats amp up pressure for vote on COVID-19 aid MORE on the next coronavirus relief packaged have stalled in recent weeks.

Pelosi and Meadows had their first conversation in roughly three weeks on coronavirus relief on Thursday. Meadows described it afterward as “25 minutes of nothing," while Pelosi said Meadows had a "disregard" for suffering Americans.

Foye stressed on Sunday that the MTA needs more funding to making it through 2021.

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“Our customers pay us about 50 percent of our revenue. That ridership decline has exacted significant damage to the MTA’s operating condition,” Foye said. “Right now we need $12 billion from the federal government to get us through the remainder of 2020 and 2021”

He added, however, that GOP leadership in the Senate "has been indifferent to the needs of the MTA.”

Foye added that 10 percent of the total U.S. gross domestic product comes from the New York City region.

“It benefits the entire country,” he said.

The FTA oversaw safety aspects of Washington, D.C.'s Metrorail system from 2015 to 2019 before transferring oversight to a state program.

The MTA is North America’s largest transportation network and experienced a historic decline in March when ridership was down 90 percent. Foye said at the time that the MTA loses $800,000 a year between the lack of revenue and the increase in spending on sanitary measures.

John Catsimatidis is an investor in The Hill.

--This report was updated at 5:36 p.m.