Business leaders who represent New York City and suburban counties on Monday released a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to support federal aid for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority amid a revenue crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter, backed by the Westchester Business Council, the Long Island Association and the Partnership for New York City comes as a federal stimulus package under negotiation in Congress since June has continued to stall.
The business leaders pointed to the impact of a robust transportation and commuter service has on the New York City metropolitan area, which accounts for 75% of the state's gross domestic product.
"This is why it is imperative that you negotiate the agreement that provides dedicated funding for mass transit systems, which are suffering an existential fiscal crisis as a result of Covid-19’s impact on ridership and revenues," they wrote in the letter. "Without federal relief, this will further devastate businesses that rely on mass transit and also constrain the national economic recovery."
Overall New York is seeking billions of dollars to offset revenue losses amid the pandemic. Layoffs at school districts and local governments are being considered and implemented as the state has warned 20% of funding will have to be withheld due to the crisis.
The business groups in the letter also urged Trump to "prioritize" federal aid for local governments and the states.
"As a businessman yourself, you understand that superior public safety leads to more private investments and business expansion, and that a lower crime rate is an asset for economic development," the letter states. "And thus, if state and local governments lay off employees and reduce services, this will negatively impact our economy and the national recovery."