NEW YORK — The passage of the federal infrastructure bill means that MTA fare hikes and service cuts are off the table "for now," MTA Acting Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said at the agency's board meeting Monday.

Lieber's comments came after Gov. Kathy Hochul said there will be no MTA fare hikes, and service cuts in 2023 and 2024 "are now off the table," because of the anticipated influx of money from the bill.

A fare hike scheduled this year has been postponed until 2022, and service cuts were considered before the MTA received federal pandemic relief funding.

The governor made the announcement at Albany International Airport on Monday before departing for Washington D.C., where President Joe Biden signed the bill.

Lieber added at the MTA board meeting that fare hikes were being put off "indefinitely," and that the agency was removing service reductions from its financial plan.

Lieber added that the MTA will have to work with the state once federal funding is exhausted in a couple of years because the transit agency has a deficit looming after ridership plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic. The MTA chairman is looking to Albany for new taxes and fees to fund mass transit. More details on those budget deficits will be available at Wednesday's MTA Board meeting.

Subways and buses lost 90% of ridership during the worst of the pandemic, requiring federal bailouts. The subway is now carrying roughly half its typical pre-pandemic ridership, about 6 million trips every weekday. Lieber said doing away with fare hikes and service cuts will keep people swiping.

New York stands to receive about $10 billion from the bipartisan federal infrastructure package. That will helps pay for major projects like the Second Avenue subway and upgrading the subway signal system. And the MTA can now avoid borrowing the money for those projects, so it won’t have to use operating revenue to pay down the debt.

One transit advocate says eliminating the fare hike and keeping service as is, is the right decision.

"I think that it’s really about making sure that people want to come back into the system," said Lisa Daglian, the executive director at Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC).


Did you know you can now watch, read and stay informed with NY1 wherever and whenever you want? Get the new Spectrum News app here.


Looking for an easy way to learn about the issues affecting New York City?

Listen to our "Off Topic/On Politics" podcast: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | iHeartRadio | Stitcher | RSS