Digest: Report says MTA will begin cost-cutting moves to address huge deficit (corrected)

News Wire Digest fourth section for July 21: MBTA gets federal loan for PTC; Volkswagen opens new facility at Port of Baltimore
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Tuesday afternoon rail news:

Report: MTA set to begin budget cuts to address deficit

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority will announce the first cuts to address a massive budget deficit created by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more drastic cuts, including service reductions, to come. The New York Times reports moves under review include service reductions, job cuts, postponement of infrastructure projects, and toll increases at the bridges and tunnels run by the agency. Facing deficits now projected at $16.2 billion through 2024, MTA chairman Patrick J. Foye said the size of the shortfall is “why these unpalatable, unacceptable alternatives have to be considered. … We’re going to have to make hard choices no matter what happens here.” Officials say that additional emergency federal assistance currently under consideration in Congress could help prevent some of the cuts, but even with more aid, there will still be a deficit. On Wednesday, the MTA board is expected to review cuts that will save $1 billion in 2021 with moves including elimination of consulting contracts and reduction of overtime, but that will only be the beginning of the process.

MBTA to receive $851 million for PTC implementation
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will receive a $851 million loan for positive train control implementation under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program. The loan announced today is for PTC installation across the MBTA commuter rail system, as well as the installation of Automatic Train Control on the 170-mile North Side commuter rail lines and expansion of a fiber optic network for the signaling system.

VW opens import facility at Port of Baltimore
Volkswagen of America is expected to process about 120,000 vehicles a year at its new facility which began operations Monday at the Port of Baltimore’s Tradepoint Atlantic Vehicle terminal. Volkswagen, Audi, Lamborghini, and Bentley vehicles will be processed at the 115-acre facility, which is served by CSX and Norfolk Southern via switching services provided by Tradepoint Rail, formerly the Baltimore Industrial Railroad. Volkswagen has signed a 20-year lease on the facility, which a press release indicates is expected to create 100 new jobs.

— Updated on July 22 to correct provider of switching services at VW facility.

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