Public Hearing on the Finances, Policies and Practices of the MTA

Senator Carl L. Marcellino along with members of the Senate Standing Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, today held a Public Hearing to examine the changes necessary to reduce annual operating deficits and stop the continuing cycle of increased fares and decreased services at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

Testifying at the Hearing was Jay H. Walder, Chairman & CEO of the MTA, Helena Williams, President of the Long Island Railroad, Kenneth B. Bleiwas, Director of Bureau of Agency Analysis, Office of the Comptroller, John Samuelson, President of the Transport Workers Union Local 100, and Ira Greenberg, Chairman of the Executive Committee Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.

“The MTA needs to be transparent and accountable to the taxpayer and riders. It is imperative that we examine ways to reduce the MTA’s annual operating deficits, which have led to fare increases, service cuts and the horrendous MTA payroll tax. Long Islanders simply cannot go on footing the bill for this bloated and disreputable public authority.  No matter what actions are taken, the MTA continues to dig a deeper hole.  A hole they ask the taxpayer to fill.  Well, the taxpayers simply cannot afford another penny. They deserve answers.  They need to know why the MTA can never seem to get it right,” Senator Marcellino.

In September 2010, Comptroller DiNapoli released the “Financial Outlook for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority,” providing a detailed look at the recurring structural imbalances projected to be $3.1 billion for 2011, and increasing by 2014 to $4.4 billion.  The MTA has an operating budget of $13.3 billion with 66,549 employees for 2011. The Hearing was convened to investigate these serious and recurring financial problems. “The MTA needs to implement cost saving actions to close these gaps before asking the public to pay more for less,” said Senator Marcellino     

Senator Marcellino also presented Chairman Walder and LIRR President Helena Williams with over 500 questions that were submitted to him from his constituents. 

The MTA is a vital service that provides public transportation in and around the New York City area, stretching into seven counties in New York State and two counties in Connecticut.  The system includes the Long Island Railroad, the Metro-North Railroad, the Staten Island Railway, Long Island Bus, MTA Bus, New York City Transit, and the bridges and tunnels into New York City.