City Needs More Reps On MTA Board

February 12, 2020

Originally published in Queens Gazette on February 12, 2020.

We support legislation Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and NYS Senator Andrew Gounardes introduced to add borough representation to the MTA board. NYC Councilman Costa Constantinides had previously called for MTA board reforms that would give each borough president an appointee to the influential body. Many believe the current system is overly influenced by decision-makers who live outside of the city, which does not make sense considering the millions of people within the city who use mass transit daily.

Simotas and Gounardes’ bill in the state legislature “would create more of a partnership between the state and city when it comes to the MTA. The bill gives discretion to each of the city’s five borough presidents to appoint a member to the board, adding five more seats,” the officials stated recently.

New York state currently has six appointees to the board, including the MTA chair; New York City has four members, all who whom are recommended by the mayor; Westchester, Suffolk, and Nassau counties each get an appointee, all of whom have a full vote. Four counties north of Westchester – Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland, and Orange counties – split a combined vote. These members decide on MTA policy, the authority’s budget, and fare increases.

Representation on the MTA board should be more proportional to reflect the actual ridership, and we believe this bill will help achieve that.