$4.2 billion only keeps the MTA on life support

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Congress finally reached a relief-bill deal that will send a much-needed $4.2 billion to the MTA. Kudos to Sen. Chuck Schumer for getting it done — and for warning that it’s not nearly enough.

The aid should let the agency avoid — for now — major subway- and bus-service cuts as well as 9,000 layoffs it was eyeing if no relief arrived. But the pandemic-slammed MTA still faces an $8 billion deficit through 2024 and will need to borrow $2.9 billion to cover operating expenses, for a total of over $6 billion in emergency loans since COVID hit, debt it has no easy way to repay.

Lockdowns and virus fears have MTA receipts down anywhere from 40 percent to 70 percent below normal; even its take from various obscure taxes has taken a hit. Meanwhile, its expenses are up: Diligent cleaning is necessary but far from free.

Clueless progressives are rallying against vital fare and toll hikes set for early next year. Please, folks: Just hold your breath until you get your way.

Even if the feds send more cash next year, the state and city need to step up their MTA funding, while the agency’s unions need to cooperate in finding savings that don’t penalize honest workers.

New York’s economy needs the subways and other transit, or the city is toast.

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