TA, Straphangers: Next MTA head should know the transit

By · Published in 2011

New York’s straphangers want the next MTA head to be well versed in public transit, according to a Transportation Alternatives poll. With current MTA CEO and Chairman Jay Walder’s looming departure, Trans Alt and the Straphangers asked 600 New Yorkers their views on the next MTA head, and the results show that riders want someone to advocate for the bus and subway systems. “New Yorkers know first-hand the city’s public transit needs,” Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said. “Over the last three years, the state legislature has raided a total of $260 million in dedicated funds from transit riders. It’s no surprise that people want the next MTA chair to ensure that elected officials protect the public transit funding needed to prevent further fare hikes and service cuts. They want serious leadership for these challenging financial times.”

The polls, unfortunately, are somewhat self-selection as the two groups hosted them on their websites and Facebook pages. The respondents therefore are more attuned to transit issues than a typical subway rider may be. Still, the answers are telling. Riders want someone who has experience running other large and complext transit systems, and they want someone with the political skills to raise support for transit in Washington, Albany and City Hall. Those traits represent the Holy Grail amongst transit advocates, and finding the right person who is both willing to stick around and enjoys support from Albany has been a challenge.

“Riders most want an MTA chair experienced in running other large, complex transit systems,” Cate Catino of the Straphangers Campaign said. “With a public transit system that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, riders need the next MTA chair to be able to step into our complex system and hit the ground rolling at full speed. Riders want it all, and we deserve it.”

14 Responses to “TA, Straphangers: Next MTA head should know the transit”

  1. John says:

    Well, that’s what they just had, but they couldn’t keep him.

  2. Larry Littlefield says:

    “Riders want it all, and we deserve it.”

    The next MTA head should be an experienced large scale bankruptcy attorney.

  3. Miles Bader says:

    Why on earth does the state have control over the MTA, when all they ever seem to do is abuse it…? Wouldn’t NYC’s interests be best served by having control over its own transit?

    • Alex C says:

      Remember, the MTA also includes LIRR and Metro-North (part of which runs in Connecticut and provides service to CDOT).

      • Bolwerk says:

        That actually makes some sense. NYCTA is entirely within the city though.

        • Alex C says:

          Even then, still need those state subsidies. And if NYCTA separates from the MTA you know those clowns in Albany won’t last a second before exploding with joy and cutting every cent they can that the MTA gets from the state. The MTA gets its budget raided and threatened as it is. If it splits into LIRR+MNRR and NYCTA both entities will be worse off. It will be another excuse to slash funding, which NYCTA would not survive.

          • Bolwerk says:

            NYCTA shouldn’t get state money anyway, just like the rest of the state shouldn’t be getting $15B of NYC money. As for LIRR+MNRR, they should be financed regionally, and all Albany should do is facilitate that.

            I like the idea of NYC taking responsibility for our own transit, and if Albany doesn’t choke us in other areas, I think we’d be better off for it.

    • Andrew says:

      The MTA was created to pool the finances of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority with the ailing NYCTA and LIRR.

      Perhaps subway riders would have been better off had the LIRR (and later the lines that became Metro-North) been kept independent, but that ship has sailed.

  4. JimD says:

    Of course, the riders also want the perfect MTA chairman to work for peanuts.

    • SEAN says:

      I guess we cant ask Disney for permission to talk to Dumbo? LOL

      You want a good leeder? you better be willing to pay up. I guess the MTA as well as the riding public haven’t learned that lessen yet, but they will soon.

    • Bolwerk says:

      The riders? Why would they care as long as fares stay under control and service works? It’s the state that wants to pay less, while tying such an executive’s hands.

  5. R2 says:

    And I’d like him to sprinkle faerie dust on the system and make everything magically better overnight.

    :: shakes head ::

  6. Al D says:

    The next MTA Head should have his/her head examined for taking such a thankless, punching bag job.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>