The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has warned for months that the agency will be forced to make draconian cuts, including slashing New York City’s subway service 40 percent, as the pandemic plunged the nation’s largest public transit agency into its worst financial crisis.
But as Joseph R. Biden Jr. prepares to move into the White House, Congress in recent days seemed to be edging closer to reaching a compromise on a federal aid package that would likely provide $4 billion to the M.T.A., allowing the agency to avoid, for now, imposing its doomsday plan.
Patrick J. Foye, the chairman of the agency, said the M.T.A. continued to seek $12 billion in federal aid to help stabilize its finances, which have been decimated by a ridership that has rebounded to only 30 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
Beside huge cuts to subway service, the agency has also proposed slashing commuter rail service in half and laying off over 9,000 transit workers.
And early next year, the M.T.A. board is expected to approve 4 percent increases in fares and tolls that would take effect in the spring and generate more revenue for the 2021 budget, according to people familiar with the proposed plan who asked not to be identified before the board takes action.
Transportation advocates have urged Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who controls the M.T.A., and state lawmakers to identify new revenue streams — including raising the gas tax or creating a surcharge on nonessential items purchased online — to help the agency dig out of its financial hole without relying so heavily on future federal help.
The agency has already achieved $1 billion in savings by trimming administrative expenses, like reducing overtime and cutting consultant contracts, and borrowed $3.4 billion, the maximum amount allowed, from an emergency lending program provided by the Federal Reserve.
Transit officials have said they are hopeful that more relief could come under Mr. Biden, who is known as a fan of Amtrak, the national railroad, and has also signaled support for public transit systems.
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