Sunday, March 08, 2009

Cleaning Up The M.T.A. In Order To Fund It Is Harder Than It Looks

We still do not have a bailout plan ready to go for the M.T.A. and we mainly have the State Senate to thank for that. I already remarked (perhaps a lil' harshly) a couple days ago about the Gang of Three's role in stalling the bill but I must admit that there are ways we can clean up the Authority in the process of funding it so that we don't have to pay $103 for monthly cards. Some ideas coming from the Senate are listed below.

From The Gothamist:

Word is that a bailout plan for the MTA could begin making its way through state legislatures in the week ahead. This past week was one that only seemed to present stalling for any potential alternatives to the looming threat of a $100 monthly Metrocard. Despite a push from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, any serious talk of bringing tolls to the East River crossings has hit a snag with the Democratic bloc in the State Senate known as the Three Amigos demanding the MTA "go back to the drawing board" and calling for an audit for the agency. The new bailout plan would come with some potential reorganization for the MTA, a full-time chief executive position replacing the two part-time voluntary roles filled by Elliot Sander (pictured) and Dale Hemmerdinger. The legislature could also see a revenue driven proposal from Governor Paterson that would substantially raise DMV registration fees.
Paying a CEO sounds more costly than the $0 perks given to Sander and Hemmerdinger. There are already enough exorbitant salaries paid out to the executives within the transit authority. As for Paterson's idea, raising DMV fees can only a partial solution, since if we raise them too high they'll be another punitive tax on the working class who aren't close to mass transit.

In an ideal world we'd dissolve the Authority and make the apparatus more accountable to the people that ride their buses and trains, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon. "Radical change" and "Albany" mix as well as oil and water. For now we'll just have to scream and shout at Albany and hope they'll listen to the needs of straphangers and not intrasigent State Senators who think their South Bronx constituents rely more on taxis than the subway.