NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Another dire warning has been issued about the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's finances. This time, the red flag is coming from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
He said drastic cuts could be coming if the agency doesn't get a federal bailout, CBS2's Andrea Grymes reported Tuesday.
Barreling down the tracks are not only trains, but the worst financial crisis in the history of the MTA, according to DiNapoli.
"Not good," one straphanger said.
"You worry about the future. Are we just going to have a lack of service that we're not accustomed to? How's that going to disrupt our commutes?" rider Sean Sutherland added.
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DiNapoli said riders have a right to be worried. His new report paints a bleak picture. He said the MTA will be $12 billion in the red over the next four years and more than $50 billion in debt by 2024.
"If the federal government fails to provide additional assistance, the devastation to public transit in New York would be enormous. It would mark the end of regional public transit as we have known it," DiNapoli said on a conference call.
MTA Chairman Pat Foye said the report confirms the agency may be forced to implement drastic service cuts and layoffs, which will only slow the slow region and the nation's economic recovery.
"This is the greatest financial crisis the MTA has ever faced. We need substantial federal aid and we need it now," Foye said.
DiNapoli said the MTA did get $4 billion in federal funds from the CARES Act in March but needs $12 billion more to balance the budget through 2021.
Political wrangling over another stimulus bill continues in Washington, with no guarantees of when or how much.
If no federal funding comes, DiNapoli noted the state did authorize the MTA to borrow up to $10 billion for operations. But DiNapoli said that should be an absolute last resort, adding it would only make a bad situation far worse.
The MTA chairman said the agency will discuss service cuts and layoffs at its November board meeting.
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