‘Black hole’ MTA ‘should not be asking for more money,’ US Rep. Nicole Malliotakis scolds
The chronically cash-strapped MTA is a “black hole” that should be audited before getting another dime from the government, US Rep. Nicole Malliotakis said Monday.
Tearing into an MTA fare hike proposal alongside Assemblyman Mike Tannousis, Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) called on GOP colleagues in Washington to “audit” the MTA’s use of federal bailout money.
“The MTA is a black hole. They’re constantly asking for more and more money,” Malliotakis railed during a press conference in Brooklyn.
“They really should not be asking for more money at this point. They received $15 billion,” she said. “At what point is it enough where the MTA will be able to actually run it services without hitting our constituents over the head time and again?”
Malliotakis — who voted for the $15 billion worth of bailouts the MTA received in 2020 and 2021 — accused Gov. Kathy Hochul and her appointed MTA leadership of reneging on their pledge to stave off fare hikes “indefinitely.”
Officials plan to hike fares by 11% between now and 2026 — from $2.75 to over $3 per subway ride — even if Hochul finds the $600 million needed to close next year’s budget hole.
The MTA is rife with “waste” and “abuse,” charged Malliotakis, who cited the overbudget, long-delayed East Side Access project as an example.
“Before you come asking for more money, fix your own finances and fix your own agencies,” Malliotakis demanded. “No federal tax payers or state tax payers should be funding this incompetence.“
The $15 billion cumulative infusion of federal cash over 2020 and 2021 only temporarily secured the MTA’s budget, according to the agency’s leaders.
Continued low ridership means the agency now needs $600 million for 2023, plus over $1 billion for each of the subsequent three years, according to the MTA’s recent budget forecast.
An agency rep accused Malliotakis of “grandstanding” — noting 80% of the authority’s budget goes to labor and healthcare costs.
“As members of Congress are well aware, federal funding received during the pandemic continues to be used to run service – including on Staten Island and in South Brooklyn – to ensure nurses, grocery workers, first responders, teachers and other New Yorkers could get to jobs, healthcare and other critical destinations,” spokesman John McCarthy said in a statement.
“Every bill that brought essential support to transit agencies, keeping trains and buses operating during a national emergency, included federal audit provisions that don’t require grandstanding by politicians to activate.”