WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– The President of Metro-North Railroad joined U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal in calling for the federal government to provide billions of dollars in funding to prevent massive cuts to the nation’s largest commuter railroad.
Just last year, News 8 was doing stories about how tough it was to find a parking spot at the West Haven Metro North station. Now, the lot is practically empty.
Only 20% as many people are riding Metro-North compared to a year ago. That means the railroad is only making 20% as much money off fares as it was a year ago. It has already made some cuts due to the pandemic, but the head of the railroad says, if it does not get $12 billion in federal money and soon, it will have to cut service by 50%.
That will also mean a lot of job cuts for a railroad that directly employs more than 9,000 people. Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi says the financial ripples would extend well beyond just the railroad.
“Potential cuts to Metro-North and the MTA as a whole could cost the region more than 350,000 jobs and nearly $100 billion in economic activity next year,” Rinaldi said at a Monday morning press conference in West Haven.
Senator Richard Blumenthal was also at that press conference. He says the bill that would provide that $12 billion in federal funding is ready to be voted on in the senate, but he says republican senate leadership is keeping it from coming to a vote.