Bloomberg: It’s like taking candy from a babyBy
During a Q-and-A with reporters yesterday, Michael Bloomberg, who has overseen reductions in city contributions to the MTA during his eight years as mayor, got to talking about the latest MTA financial crisis. His comments showed that he understands the source of the MTA’s pain but doesn’t know what to do about it. “I don’t know why anybody is surprised at what is happening to the MTA,” he said. “It’s a piggy bank that keeps getting raided.”
Bloomberg also understands the overall economic effect the transportation network has on our a region, a topic I explored yesterday. “It’s going to make it very difficult for people who rely on mass transit,” the mayor said. “That hurts our overall economy.” So what, Mr. Mayor, will you do about it? Will you lobby Albany for some accountability? Will you find some way to deliver on congestion pricing? Will you renew a push for East River Bridge tolls? Right now, Bloomberg is all talk and no action.
In the end, the agency is moving ahead with its budget preparations, an authority spokesman said that the MTA will not raid its capital budget. It could try to shift some capital funds to its operating costs or use up to 10 percent of the federal stimulus funds for the same purpose. Maintenance and construction, though, are too integral to the future of the city to be neglected. “We are not using rebuilding funds,” MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin said to the Daily News. “We can’t afford to compromise our maintenance and rebuilding program.”