Home MTA Economics Direct the MTA ire at Albany, says Times

Direct the MTA ire at Albany, says Times

by Benjamin Kabak

In one of the strongest pro-MTA editorials yet, The Times on Thursday urged New Yorkers to call upon Albany to save the MTA. It is a message I’ve harped upon for weeks and one well worth repeating.

As its new “doomsday” budget makes clear, the authority will require all sorts of drastic measures just to stay even. Without help from Albany, there will be fewer trains and buses, and a few subway lines and bus routes will be canceled altogether…

Governor Paterson and the Legislature must do whatever they can to keep the system from regressing to the slow and shabby days of the 1970s. A sensible course has been suggested by a commission led by Richard Ravitch, a former chairman of the transportation authority. The commission proposes raising revenues for public transit by installing tolls on Harlem River and East River bridges that do not already have tolls and levying a modest payroll tax for businesses, unions and governments in the New York City area.

Not surprisingly, the idea of new tolls has provoked a huge outcry from Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, and most city politicians have retreated from the idea. What this means, of course, is that the people who take their cars to work are winning out against the millions who take public transit. This is as unfair as it is environmentally unsound. Moreover, unless drivers pay their fair share, employers are likely to resist a new payroll tax proposed to help shore up the system.

New tolls and taxes are unpleasant. But longer waits and longer commutes and dirtier trains and much higher fares for millions of people who depend on public transit are more so. The remedy now depends on Albany.

In a sense, The Times is echoing what I wrote on Monday when I explored the vast difference between the numbers of drivers and transit commuters in Brooklyn. Why they published such an important editorial on Christmas Day, a notoriously slow news day, I do not know.

What I do know though and what The Times notes, many more people will be negatively impacted by a poorly funded MTA than by a bunch of bridge tolls on the East River. We’ll find out in a few weeks who will pay the most for the MTA’s woes. If the drivers don’t pay, the city as a whole will suffer, and Albany should make sure the MTA gets what it needs.

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cmdrtebok December 26, 2008 - 7:56 am

I’m all for being angry at Albany, its been almost a part time job of mine ever since attending state school… I’m also mad at the people in the MTA who are clearly stealing money. Remember the cooked books scandal?

Mr. Eric December 26, 2008 - 10:49 am

Yes I remember very clearly when Hevesi caught the MTA with 2 sets of books. NOBODY went to jail for that major crime either.

Benjamin Kabak December 26, 2008 - 1:12 pm

It’s fine to be annoyed at the MTA for that scandal, but you have to also realize that it was nearly six years ago. No one involved in that book-cooking scandal is still at the MTA, and the current leadership is trying to negotiate its way through a financial crisis of an entirely different nature.

Sahre Davis February 4, 2009 - 12:02 pm

Oh BEN, Indeed are they?

How can they truly be accountable? We didn’tlearn about the misapropriation of funds until after the fact! The fact that the MTA dares on a now annual basis to implement fare raises is simply unacceptable. We should be victims of inacurate financial forcasting, or blind to the fact that the MTA indeed does have money.

The mta recently issued a test to 20,000 applicants at a $20-$30 fee. Guess what? THEY ARE NOT HIRING! Where does all of that extra revenue go? We need to have an annual inquistion into the finaical detailing of the mta.

True the city is in a recession, but these flakes were crying poor long before the market crash.

Now really why?

Could be that memebers on the board actually have no experience in Tranist matters? How many tranist experts actually are sitting on the board right now? We have a con edision executive on board, a real estate partner- come on.

The reasons for these alliances are obious and OBVIOUSLY it is time to break up this monopoly. Why do they get fre subway passes when they dont even use them? Come on. Im a college student. I coudl actually use and bebnfit from it.

Any how Im going to vent at the final public meeting tonite, in the cold Bronx. Hope to see you all there.

Second Ave. Sagas | A New York City Subway Blog » Blog Archive » » MTA sets March 25 as ‘drop-dead’ date January 6, 2009 - 1:42 am

[…] interesting to see how newspaper support lines up behind Ravitch. While The New York Times recently endorsed the Ravtich recommendations, other city newspapers haven’t embraced the full slate of tolls and taxes. Last week, the […]


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