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NYC’s airports, MTA at ‘imminent risk’ if government shutdown drags on

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New York State Senator Charles Schumer says that the city’s economy and the MTA could be strained if the shutdown continues

It’s been more than two weeks since the partial shutdown of the federal government began and with no end in sight, the city could start feeling the affects.

On Sunday, New York State Senator Charles Schumer that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at the JFK and LaGuardia airports are at “imminent risk” if the partial shutdown continues. According to union officials for TSA agents, up to 170 staff members have been calling in sick since the shutdown begin, resulting in longer lines at airports and delayed flights, reports the New York Daily News. Schumer said that should things continue on like this, the city’s economy could feel the implications.

“[TSA agents] can’t get to work and they’re not getting paid,”Schumer told the Daily News. “That means longer lines at the airport, that means more delayed flights at the airports and that puts a crimp on our New York economy, which depends on people flying in and flying out.”

The already struggling MTA could also be at risk, should the shutdown drag on. The agency is estimating a loss of about $150 million in federal funding this month. Schumer says that the cash-strapped MTA can probably last another four weeks but after that, it’ll have to start cutting back or even borrowing money elsewhere.

New York State has picked up the tab for some federal properties in New York City, like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, allowing them to remain open and continue to welcome visitors. Meanwhile, Smithsonian museums, the Cooper Hewitt, and the National Museum of the American Indian are shuttered while the shutdown is in effect.