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MTA Says It Needs Another $3 Billion In Emergency Funding As Coronavirus Pandemic Causes 90% Decrease In Ridership, Unprecedented Subway Shutdown

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The MTA is getting $3.9 billion in federal emergency funding, but the transit agency says it needs Congress to approve another $3 billion or that money could be coming out of commuters' pockets.

It's been a big week for the MTA. With ridership down 90%, the subways started closing each night for unprecedented cleaning, and now the MTA's $3.9 billion cut of the CARES stimulus bill signed by President Donald Trump in late March is on its way.

"Congress doesn't agree on a lot, but they did agree the MTA is vital. Now we have to convince them that what they gave us then seemed enough at the time, but it's not," Congressman Peter King told CBS2's Ali Bauman.

This week, the MTA chairman and leaders of public transit agencies across the country penned a letter to Congress requesting more emergency funding.

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The MTA says it needs an additional $3.9 billion to keep the wheels turning through this year.

King says that money is crucial for the entire tri-state area's resurgence.

"This is the largest mass transit system in all of North America. They have about 8 million passengers a day, and with that loss of revenue, it's gonna be impossible for them to survive without this added infusion of cash," he said.

The MTA projects an $8.9 billion loss in revenue through 2021.

"These transportation revenue bonds rely on revenue to actually pay their debts, so these are debts that have to be paid through the collection of fare and tolls so when people aren't riding the trains and people aren't going over bridges as much as they used to, they just don't have the ability to pay that," Republican City Councilman Joe Borelli said.

He fears without federal funding, commuters will bare the brunt.

"You'll see draconian service cuts," Borelli said. "But since we have to pay those debts from our revenue, you'll see the need for fare increases and toll increases, which is something nobody wants."

Local lawmakers say they're optimistic the grant awarded Friday may signal future allocation.

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