Zeldin, Garbarino Fight for LIRR Riders, Workers in Light of Additional Service Cuts | Congressman Lee Zeldin

Zeldin, Garbarino Fight for LIRR Riders, Workers in Light of Additional Service Cuts

March 9, 2021
Press Release

PATCHOGUE, NY - Today, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) and Congressman Andrew Garbarino (R, NY-2) urged the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to reverse course on their recent service cuts, which have led to reports of infrequent, overcrowded trains. 

Congress has previously appropriated $8 billion in emergency funding for the MTA to help maintain operations, after which MTA Chairman Patrick Foye said the funding would prevent drastic service cuts for 2021.

Yesterday, the LIRR made additional service cuts, bringing service to roughly 75% of what it was before the outbreak of coronavirus. Since yesterday’s service cuts, riders and workers have reported overcrowded trains. 

A signed PDF of the letter is available here

Full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Mr. Foye and Mr. Eng,

Over the last year, New York has suffered greatly due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, as vaccination efforts continue to progress, New York is entering a critical phase of reopening and revitalizing our economy. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) plays a vital role in this process, which is why Congress provided $8 billion in emergency funding last year to help maintain its operations. Additionally, another roughly $6.5 billion in funds is expected to be available for the MTA in the immediate future. 

Therefore, it was incredibly disappointing to see a new round of service cuts severely diminish train service all across Long Island, which came on the heels of last month’s MTA announcement that worst case service reductions would be avoided due to the aid received and higher than expected revenues. These cuts come just as millions of Americans are returning to work and will impede the city’s reopening and discourage ridership due to overcrowded trains. 

Additionally, the MTA’s workers, who have been rightfully praised for their heroic efforts to provide necessary service through the worst of the pandemic, have already reported thousands of contractions of COVID-19 and reported over 130 deaths. These cuts, which come at the expense of their safety, demonstrate a lack of appreciation for their efforts and only serve to damage the relationship between them and the MTA.

I urge you to immediately reconsider these service cuts, which put your riders, workers and our communities’ recovery at risk.