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MBTA Renews Plea For Federal Aid

Steve Poftak, General Manager of the MBTA, holds a press conference in the lobby of the Ashmont Red Line station in Boston's Dorchester on June 22, 2020. (Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Steve Poftak, General Manager of the MBTA, holds a press conference in the lobby of the Ashmont Red Line station in Boston's Dorchester on June 22, 2020. (Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

A day after MBTA leaders voted to approve a significant set of service cuts, the agency launched another round of advocacy urging Congress to intervene with emergency aid for public transit.

The T added its voice to a "#SavePublicTransit Day" campaign the American Public Transit Association launched, warning publicly that it will continue to face pressure without federal funding to help replace lost fare revenue amid the pandemic even after deciding Monday to scale back bus, train and ferry schedules.

"Without federal assistance, we will continue to face tough operational decisions and challenging choices for current and future service," MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in a statement. "We join our partner agencies in strongly urging Congress to provide emergency funding so that we can continue to provide essential transportation services to our most transit-critical riders as well as essential workforces."

The APTA wants Congress to provide at least $32 billion for transit agencies across the country, which, like the T, face enormous budget pressures because ridership has declined so sharply amid the public health crisis.

T officials have said in the past that they may not reverse service cuts with one-time federal aid, but in Tuesday's plea to federal leaders, they indicated that federal funds would allow the T to "avoid the potential for additional service reductions" and potentially "restore some service sooner than anticipated."

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