Report: Subways, buses missed out on millions in COVID-19 funding over NYC's 'anarchist' label

New York City subway
People ride a nearly empty Manhattan subway on August 26, 2020 in New York City. Photo credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The Trump administration's labeling of New York City as a so-called "anarchist jurisdiction" reportedly prompted the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to deliberately omit NYC Transit's subways and buses in an application for millions in federal funding.

The transit agency instead limited its ask for a $10 million grant to study the movement of COVID-19 aerosols to Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road.

MTA spokesman Ken Lovett told the Daily News, "We thought that railroads applying maximized our chances of receiving the FTA grant."

Danny Pearlstein of the Riders Alliance said the federal government is "sowing a small bit of chaos."

"The MTA has to kind of game its application for these crucial federal dollars," Pearlstein said.

But he foresees a brighter future for transit.

"With the change in administration, we're going to see this policy go away very quickly, but no matter what, we expect to see it thrown out in court," Pearlstein said. "In the meantime, I guess the MTA, they have to make due with the deck that they're given and the cards out in front of them."

The transit advocate said overall there's reason for optimism.

"We're cautiously optimistic that the MTA will be rescued from its worst-ever fiscal crisis; cautiously optimistic that congestion pricing will finally get unstuck in Washington and take effect here," Pearlstein said.

He also has hopes for funding of the Gateway Tunnel Project that's part of NJ Transit and Amtrak, which President-elect Joe Biden is famous for riding.

Pearlstein also believes Gov. Andrew Cuomo's relationship with Biden could also benefit the MTA.

"Gov. Cuomo and Joe Biden go way back," Pearlstein said.