The Long Island Association joined forces with the Partnership for New York City and the Business Council of Westchester, requesting that the federal government respond to the funding needs of the region’s major transit systems.
A letter requesting federal support was sent to President Donald Trump on Sept. 14, appealing, in part, to his sense as a businessman, linking the region’s transit system to the economic recovery of both the state and national economy.
The letter was signed by Kevin Law, the LIA’s president and CEO; Kathryn Wylde, the Partnership for New York City’s president and CEO; and Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester
The letter comes at a time of “unprecedented economic fallout caused by Covid-19,” the organizations said, impacting transit systems that include the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
In addition, both state and local governments “are on the brink of having to lay off police officers, fire fighters, emergency service personnel and others from the public workforce that could consequently jeopardize public safety and thus our economy,” the letter stated.
In the letter, the organizations point out that metropolitan region – Long Island, New York City and Westchester – comprise 63 percent of New York State’s population and 75 percent of its gross domestic product. Together, they make up 4 percent of the nation’s population and 6 percent of GDP.
The region served by the MTA “represents 10 percent of the nation’s economic output,” making it “the lifeblood of that economic vitality,” the organizations said. And for this reason, they said in the letter that “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.”
Without that crucial federal relief, businesses that rely on mass transit would be further devastated, constraining the national economic recovery, the letter said.
In the letter, the organizations also requested federal funding for state and local government, appealing to the president’s business sense.
“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 signers said. “And thus, if state and local governments lay off employees and reduce services, this will negatively impact our economy and the national recovery.”
The letter went on to say that “New York’s downstate regional economy drives the entire state and, in many ways, it is the most important economic region in the country.”
And it points out that as “private sector businesses have lost revenue and tens of thousands of jobs while struggling to keep their doors open, we need you to lead the federal effort in helping our state, and all 50 states, give these businesses an opportunity to once again thrive, retain and create jobs and rebuild our economy.”
It concluded by saying that “as the business organizations representing our regional economy, we urge you to come to the aid of our business community and lead Congress to a deal that paves the way for this necessary funding.”