This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Hosted by Gabe Pressman.
Harris J. Klein, a member of the City Transit Authority, answers questions.
Panelists: Ursula Mahoney of Hunter College, Maureen O'Neill of Columbia University, Martin Birmingham of Washington Square College, and Harold Goodman of the University of Minnesota.
Can the city retain the 15 cent fare? Negotiations with Transit Workers Union to meet budget. Closing of the 3rd Avenue El. There is no 2nd Ave Subway contemplated for 9 or 10 years; he think it will never occur. Transit Authority think there are other projects more important than a 2nd Avenue subway line. Lightbulbs. Doesn't think anyone likes subways. Insufficient Transit police officers.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71960
Municipal archives id: LT2994
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Listen now to another in the prize winning transcribed series of kept us press conferences and these broadcasts college newspaper editors interview a prominent personalities in the news from the point of view of our youngest citizens acting as moderator and host of the Capitol press conference is Gabriel press been a staff writer for The New York World Telegram and sun And now to introduce his panel of campus editors and their guests here is Mr President good afternoon and welcome to another edition of campus press conference our guest today is Harris J. Klein a member of the City Transit Authority the organization that runs the city's buses and subways here to interview Mr Klein today are Ursula Mahoney of hundred college arena on the Ellipse combi University Park in Birmingham of Washington Square College and Harold Goodman of the University of Minnesota and now the first question from personal Mahoney news decline of your proposed time the bones of which is now on its read the newspapers claim that it dearly would cover expenses in existing if you send their unfounded situation can we expect to keep it here at fifty cents to be expect another RAINES I would say that if we fail. Then the rule that we increase. In a period of the next few years at least. A budget takes on all contingencies and do it is rare that all of the monies that are supposed to be spent in the budget I actually spent the money reserves. And there are many more economies which I'll be but because of this moment that which will offset any deficit which might occur that I would venture to say like that might guarantee that there'll be no famine race for at least the next few years while if you are to offer the transit workers the wage increase which under the new contract you have agreed to do at least to consider and you have to cut your hair of late on affect some definite economies in this new budget Well it was contemplated that certain economies would be put into effect for example we now know that these. Will be discontinued only the first of the year that will result in the savings of upwards of two million dollars We also have a definite understanding of lead to double you know that the SEC leaves and if a program will be amended that should give us a saving of at least three million dollars It was also understood with the union that any contemplated range increases let depend upon economies as a result of your cooperation on the decline with these economies affect the service we're going to cut back of service no there will be no cutback in service there will be changes in mood in schedules. Well I can assure New Yorkers that some flyers rush hours are concerned there will be no cutback in service of anything there will be an increase in service during the rush hour while going off hours well off hours or maybe some lines where we might cut leave that time on some runs but most of that has already been accomplished it's a crime don't you think the elimination of the Third Avenue Well it's a cutback in my opinion and I'm gradually brought that out I dissented from a bit jollity of the authority I felt that before we took down that third Avenue Well there should be some semblance of wish start to build a Second Avenue Subway twenty nine people twenty nine million people who now use afraid I have no L. annually should be given another method of transportation and I agree with you for what provision have been has been made these twenty nine million people there are hopeful that the twenty nine million people can be absorbed in the novel already crowded lecture that in the subway or in some of the bus lines around a lot but at night I have my doubts as to whether they'll be convenient or. Workable I was going to say grab getting more in Rush time I run in subways in the rush hours and I just fitted myself at the time of the rest of humanity to try to get on that same train with me so I don't hold to my how don't have too much hope for those twenty nine million people I feel sorry for and that's why I had the sense of them was the lone dissenter. Well is there no other plan for increasing service five and there is some plan for increasing the train schedule or leave Lexington Avenue subway so far as parts of the Bronx are concerned that that's a far cry from taking care of twenty nine million people how long will these people have to wait before they get a second nap and have life well enough that I would rather the chairman of the a Saudi has said that if there is no subway contemplated for at least nine to ten years the way things are going at the trend to the Saudi I would say in that there will never be a Second Avenue subway in my opinion unless things change radically did you have an alternative economy in mind that brought it down if you think it just. I thought that the people of New York City are entitled to know I weren't title to know when the second having a subway watch to be built I might remind you that in one nine hundred fifty one a five hundred million dollars debt. Structure was set up but if you remember that I let me ask about the people of New York City who were asked to vote for the five hundred million dollars exemption from the debt limit they were specifically promised a Second Avenue subway with that money instead of course not money has already been allocated to other ventures and I think it's a breach of it's a breach of faith and it's bad faith to ask Aleck student at election time for people of color on a fairly of that matter and then forget all about your promises I say that public servants whether they be elected or whether they be appointed must keep their promises well is it is it legal to spend that money for other things yes it is only technically legal it is technically illegal but to me it's morally wrong but what changes did you have in mind that would insure a second earlier so but I want the bill the second to subway every year so there wouldn't be any unless there were some changes may well unless the Saudia changes or it than the changes it's future budgets and capital program to take care out of the SEC building when the second having someone but if you plan to build it would not interfere with the views next wage demand of the notes for that would have no effect on the wage structure the building of the second they're having a subway comes out of what we call Capital monies capital monies as furnished to us by the city it does not come out of operating income in other words the a Transit Authority runs the city subways the city still retains ownership so there are any permanent progress made on the subways the city has to do it and that they have to pay for it I mean that is what I try we supervise at the lead libelling of it but the city pays for it out of capital monies Well they need the changes being made in the transit authority or in the city and one it will actually come while the money will come from the city the first thing is for us to recommend I was told we recommended why the city planning commission and the Board of Estimate don't undertake it so that the first move must come from the front of the sun why doesn't the transit authority reckon. The. Transit Authority feels that there are other things more important than building a second after supper for example a work modernize the power play or buying new cars building certain short line extensions which don't look properly six hundred some odd million dollars These are all capital expenditure Those are all capital expenditures which which monies comes out of the city Well Mr Klein You mentioned a breach of faith would you say that it was the transit authority who had committed this breach of faith I would say the breach of faith was committed by Lee Lee only brought of transportation back in the one nine hundred fifty one which time this amend was voted upon and my opinion is being carried out by the present plans of men then in other words this authority is not. They are accomplishing their economies and giving the people supposedly a good deal in name only they are at the heart of it at breaking faith with the New York people oh no no I won't go that far that the dead doing a pretty good job. Of trying to renovate clean enough to build a proper transportation system but you must remember the system has been neglected for forty years. Things can be corrected by the stroke of a pen or with them a short period of time and we must remember that we're trying to thought he has been in existence for only one year when I think that we've done wonders during that period would you say that transit authority has been asked to do too much to suddenly become an self-sustaining Financial Corporation when we are a self-sustaining organization yes but I mean at inheriting a debt of what was a Portie seventy billion dollars or something that you're going to know that was an annual deficit I believe and what you're talking about is they are you will deficit which we inherited yes but that was taken care of immediately by the rays of the fare from ten to fifteen cents and incidentally I was not a member of the transit of time that they raise the fare I've been there I would not have voted for that race what would your time and place I'm going to get rid of I would have made economies there were many economies that could have been made I would have raised the fare if I had to at that time the twelve and a half cents I would press the city for more capital funds for maintenance and things of that sort but I would not have voted for a fifteen cent fare I think the fare was too high then I've said it once and I will continue to set deadlines don't leave me alone I have done is to cause I have every reason to believe that the fair curb eventually come down in spite of that budget which you now read. The Fair could and should come down there are many many economies that could be made what are some of those. I'll spend the rest of time of our broadcast telling you three but I'll give it one I'll give you want technical example and I think this is symbolic of what I call labor waste and monies thrown. I'm quite sure that the example that I'm giving will be corrected and things of that matter are should be corrected and I'm hopeful that with those new labor contract the thing will be corrected I found a situation where one man was assigned to changing bulbs in cars and trains I'm talking about an ordinary light bulb in the cost of a so-called eight hour day he changed sixty four bulbs that was the sign which he had for off for eight hours oh I don't know what experience you personally at this Mojave and changing a lot but I'm quite sure that you can do more than sixty four in the day and how many think you could do without magic and not very accomplished Bob. I might have once I disagree but I imagine paying eighteen dollars for the privilege of changing sixty four Bobs that's typical. I don't blame that on the individual mandate but it's not a part of a system and that system is being slowly but surely changed was that well good I believe Mr Goulden had a question I just going to ask Mr Klein on whether or not he likes subways. I don't think anybody like Subway I think the subway is a necessary part of our economic way of life I think that all New Yorkers would like to ride in a Cadillac caught a work but unfortunately we can't but that when you consider the the the millions of people who must ride within a short period of an hour or two each day you find that it still is the best and safest method of transportation without it would have no New York City. Some people straightness knowledge of going to the Alice has been a far superior form of transportation being up to me after Eric Draitser you on hot days be a little cooler. When I'm going out is when I will be a sufficient sister you know well Elmo's would not be sufficient first of all you must play allies at New York much growth. That taking down of the elders lighten their the people who live along that street it takes their lives of these pillars which provide for faster traffic so that I feel that the reality is that they live a past and if you look into other cities you'll have all of their energy or far in that way they don't grow old they're not modern because it O'Dell structures and while lying again say that I was against the I voted against the tearing down of the phone Avondale it was only because no proper substitute was provided for what they were trying to do something that renders. Most decline you mentioned labor as the source of some of the ways in. Transportation system do you feel that Labor has been unjust in their demands in the first year of crimes and ferreting out. Are you talking of wages or working well not only way in life but in their general cooperation with the proposed economies which the authority tried to enact such as rearranging schedules and cutting down on blowing things like well let me just in this fight for a new report which was that issued by the mayor's committee they definitely help that there was waste featherbedding. In the transit system which was fostered by the you know as a matter of fact we've seen cultural really only and you only hear of stated that there is a color war girl going between the tribes that have to be on the team W.. We hope. But that's the new pastor's right that a new era is about to begin but those are things which are factual and which are part of the record it was conceived that there was waste and fraud are we're told millions of dollars per year but we're hopeful that that the arrangement with the new regulation look T.W. only amalgamated which is a federal law and they are venue owners sold Bollig agents that peace will come is the car I've got my fingers crossed Mr Klein getting back to the budget for one second you said that it would be balanced because of economies and other items which would be eliminated for long life of these other items that were recovered amazingly and labeled for economies that are proposed and run schedules economies are proposing only carried out on the side of the well or economies in the sick leave program which is to be amended. There are many economies which really of which which will and I am hopeful. Must be put into effect well Wysocki economies you mentioned that there are items of some positive factors and me find out if it would be eliminated to make about a budget balance on the part of the fact that I did it was a slowdown yell that the terminology for Danielle immediately valance of the budget leaves us with a surplus now we have another item where all of fifteen million dollars per year for what we call the furred maintenance. That is a five year program told me seventy five million dollars if this contemplated that we spend fifteen million dollars each year the first mate then states are these items such as painting free ballast. And thin