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Reuters hosts virtual Newsmaker event with CEO & Chairman of New York City’s MTA, Patrick J. Foye

A Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) worker cleans a subway car during the morning commute, as phase one of reopening after lockdown begins, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., June 8, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RC215H9LYOXA

On Thursday, Reuters hosted a virtual Newsmaker with Patrick J. Foye, CEO & Chairman of New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

As part of the Mobility Boardroom series on the future of transportation, Foye joined Reuters Editor-at-Large Axel Threlfall for a discussion on how the COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormous financial challenges for New York City’s MTA, including ridership numbers at an all-time low and the pressure to deliver clean, timely and safe transportation services are extremely high.

Among the highlights of the discussion:

-On the state of ridership in New York City, Foye said, “From the current point of view of the MTA revenue and ridership, this is worse, far worse than the Great Depression.”

-On the MTA’s upcoming board meeting in November that was the cutoff date for a plan to lay off 8,400 workers and cut city subway and bus service by up to 40 percent: “That is the point at which we would have to begin implementing the service reductions and layoffs.”

-Adding that the MTA would also shelve a $51.5 billion capital plan to fix and upgrade North America’s biggest transportation system, Foye said: “If we are not able to make those investments, there will be a deterioration in service, as occurred in New York City in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and we don’t want to go back there.”

-Foye described the withholding of aid from the MTA and the New York City region as a “punitive” act by Washington, echoing concerns by cities and states run by Democrats that they are being targeted by Republican President Donald Trump.

-Foye suggested that the election of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who has been a frequent rider on Amtrak passenger trains and a supporter of public transportation, might lead to better outcomes for the MTA.“I believe that he’s got a different view of the importance of mass transit and public transit,” Foye said.

The interview can be viewed here and Reuters coverage of the event can be read here.

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