New York Republican Nicole Malliotakis called the MTA a “black hole” that needs to be audited before receiving any more government funding. Alongside Assemblyman Mike Tannousis, Malliotakis ripped at an MTA fare hike proposal and urged fellow Republicans in Washington to “audit” the MTA’s use of federal bailout funds. She explained, “The MTA is a black hole. They’re constantly asking for more and more money.”
Malliotakis continued, “They really should not be asking for more money at this point. They received $15 billion. At what point is it enough where the MTA will be able to actually run its services without hitting our constituents over the head time and again?” She slammed the MTA, calling it “rife with waste and abuse,” citing the delayed and over budget East Side Access project as an example. “Before you come asking for more money, fix your own finances and fix your own agencies. No federal tax payers or state tax payers should be funding this incompetence,” she stated.
The New York Post reports that even if Hochul finds the $600 million required to overcome the budget gap for next year, officials still intend to increase subway rates by 11% between now and 2026, from $2.75 to almost $3 for each ride. MTA officials claim the $15 billion federal funding influx in 2020 and 2021 only temporarily secured the MTA’s budget, noting that the agency now needs $600 million for 2023 and more than $1 billion for each of the following three years due to low ridership.
MTA spokesperson John McCarthy accused Malliotakis of “grandstanding,” stressing that 80% of the authority’s budget is spent on labor and healthcare. He explained, “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.” He added, “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.”