NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The MTA on Sunday continues to face heat over a plan to add hundreds of jobs when the agency already faces financial hardships.
In a normal year, the idea might seem like a way to boost the economy and put people to work, but with the MTA facing a financial crisis unlike any before, many have said now is not the time.
On Friday, MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye spoke with WCBS 880 anchor Michael Wallace, saying the agency would need $12 billion in federal aid before next year or else drastic cuts would need to be made.
While the agency isn’t looking to cut personnel right away, if the aid does not come, that might have to be an option.
Though, in the MTA’s most recent financial update, officials included a plan to add 776 jobs from February 2020 to July 2021.
The increased personnel will come in addition to a planned $50 million increase in overtimes spending – despite Foye saying the first thing the MTA will look to cut is overtime costs.
“We expected at the beginning of this year the MTA has an operating surplus of $81 million. We had a $51.5 billion capital plan. The pandemic changed everything and drove the money we get from our customers and fares and tolls, and taxes and subsidies that have been put in place by the state legislature over a period of time,” Foye said on Friday.
The fiscal watchdog, Citizens Budget Commission, calls the new fiscal plan concerning, because they say MTA simply cannot afford it.
The MTA did enact a hiring freeze of non-essential positions during the pandemic, but a spokesman told Newsday that turnover has been unexpectedly high for operational jobs, so there is a need to fill them.