One of the perks of being the majority party in the New York State Senate is the ability to appoint a representative to the MTA Capital Program Review Board, the committee tasked with overseeing and approving the MTA’s five-year capital proposals. Craig Johnson, a Democrat from Nassau County, had served on the CPRB for the past few years, and he emerged as a roadblock opposing the LIRR’s third track plan. Now that the Republicans are in the majority, Dean Skelos has appointed Brooklyn’s own Martin Golden to the CPRB.
In the past, I’ve been skeptical of Golden’s statements on the MTA. He represents District 22, an odd mix of lower-density neighborhoods with high car ownership rates that also rely heavily on transit, and he is very good at taking non-stances on the MTA. He March he trumped the claim for more financial oversight, and in April, he protested the service cuts after failing to support the Ravitch Plan recommendations or congestion pricing.
Still, though, with the GOP in control in the Senate, there might be no better choice. As Cap’n Transit said to me last night via Twitter, “His district does have more transit riders than any other Republican in the MTA’s domain. Who would be better?”
Meanwhile, Skelos and Golden are both saying the right things. “We need a strong voice on the MTA’s Capital Program Review Board who will work to control spending so we can use our resources to ensure the entire 12-county MTA service region has an affordable and dependable mass transit system for commuters and their families. I am confident that Senator Golden will work with the Mayor and others to keep the MTA moving forward,” Skelos said.
Golden touted the job growth that MTA construction brings and pledged improvements. “I look forward to being part of negotiations that will chart a course for the future of transportation in New York. Capital spending, on the part of the Metropolitan Transit Authority system, is one of the best ways to guarantee improved travels for all New Yorker,” he said. “Commuters are demanding improvements to better their daily commute and their quality of life and we must make it happen.”