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Gene Russianoff, staff attorney at the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, and Andrea Bernstein, WNYC reporter and director of the Transportation Nation blog, talk about what the elections might mean for the MTA.
Chairman Walder has the almost impossible task of undoing the mess left 10 years ago when New York State imposed impossible bond costs on the MTA. There are advances in electronic that were needed years ago and Walder is making happen. Support his efforts. He is a rare person who is getting things changed, in a positive way!
The MTA never had two sets of books. That accusation, made by then NYS Comptroller and now convicted felon Alan Hevesi was proven false in a court of law. You can look it up. Maybe that's why the "story just kind of disappeared." It makes a good sound bite for politicians intent on jumping on the bash-the-MTA bandwagon.
I am still stunned and amazed that an organization like the MTA has been given such autonomy and allowed to cut services in order to make up for their shortfalls due to waste and mismanagement. The elephant in the room is cutting bus service, including the B71, a wrong-headed move, which basically turns out school children, seniors and working people into the street to fend for themselves. They have effectively severed the connection between two vital neighborhoods, Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, which sends the message that we are not important or of any real concern. There have been enough intimations of corruption and mismanagement to warrant a serious investigation, and yet most politicians, including our Mayor, are mysteriously MIA on this issue. It is shameful; it is wrong. The MTA needs to be held accountable for its actions; until it's books are looked at seriously, all service needs to be restored. It was an act worthy of a Charles Dickens novel, not an agency of the greatest city in the world. Health and safety issues are also involved here, not to mention the total abandonment of the borough of Brooklyn. They made a mistake. Cutting service should never have been an option, and it is the Mayor's, Mr. Walder's and the MTA's responsibility to make it right. Mr. Mayor, you got your third term. Might I suggest you actually do something that will help the life of the people of Brooklyn. You know how you are getting to work everyday. Don't you care about students, seniors and working folk who've been literally left stranded? Mr. Walder, have you no common decency? Is there anyone on the political horizon willing to stand up for the voiceless?
Let's take a look at why the double books investigation went away. A huge shake up at the MTA needs to be done. We need to have accountability.
Crappy service? Is that because the demand is high and the resources are low (think about it)? People don't want increases but they want better service. In a for profit driven model you will more than likely get better service but remember the driver is profit so prices are certain to rise steadily in a privatized transportation system. Government take over how is that possible the state hasn't done a descent job of oversight in as many years so what will be the difference with Cuomo? Doesn't he have enough on his plate with fixing the budget deficit and the many other shortfalls NY has. Let's temper our sentiment with a little dose of reality...Real solutions require thought not just opinion.
The MTA is plainly dysfunctional. There is no doubt that funding-- the source and the amount-- is a problem, but the lack of political will and legal authority to revolutionize the system coupled with a history of shamefully poor management are also major obstacles. An independent audit/investigation is probably warranted.
BTW, every time the BL show addresses the MTA, I have to yawn. Not one whit of useful commentary has ever emerged as a result. Andrea Bernstein's superficial comments that "it's easy to hate the MTA" and that the "next governor is going to have to address" the situation are typical.
There is only one subway on the east side of Manhattan and long waits for buses. Subways need more elevators for the disabled or those with poor motor skills. Should MTA continue to deliver poor service and demonstrate ongoing lack of sensitivity to the disabled then the state should take over the MTA.
Sandy HeckerCommunity Board 6, Manhattan Borough President's Disability Task Force, Disabilities In Action and other organizations.
Re: the 96th St 1,2,3 Station, the MTA should have kept the old exits in operation in addition to opening up the new exits in the center of Broadway. It would have given users more options.
People don't remember their history. The subway used to be privatized. The BMT, IND and IRT. They went bankrupt. I don't see any reason why that wouldn't happen these days.
That caller is wrong about the 96th Street station. There will be elevators -- they're still being installed so it won't be a problem for long (hopefully). The problem is crossing the street to get to the entrance now in the middle of Broadway. It's cat and mouse between pedestrians and cars. Hopefully they'll change the lights -- before someone gets seriously injured.
Abolish every one of the hundreds of independent authorities that are nothing but corrupt sinecures paying millions to incompetent supporters of the political hacks who appoint them. We need to get control and accountability back.
To respond to the caller who advocated privatization:
Britain privatized its railroads. Fares soared. Accidents soared. NOBODY things the rail service in Britain is better. Nobody.
Why would we privatize rail lines that had to be made public when the original private companies running them all went bankrupt?
Does the MTA still keep two books? How much MTA bashing is based on the past and has anything changed? Both recent chairmen came from running transportation systems elsewhere -- with a fair amount of success. So how is the MTA being run today?
Maybe the state should just take over the roads and bridges and let the subways and buses be the focus of the MTA.
Nobody has ever come right out and said that the economic model the MTA is based on (of the roads & bridges subsidizing the trains, etc.) actually works or not.
Abolish the MTA- yes. absolutely. Its not rocket science and it shouldn't be this damn hard to get this thing to work. clearly at this point we all agree that its not working, anyone disagree? anyone love the crappy service and fare hikes? if they can't get it to work- find someone that can. period. no excuses.
Someone needs to audit the MTA and get to the bottom of their double set of books scandal they had a few years back. That story just kind of disappeared like all the money they take in...
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