There’s a reason that I had to repost a rundown of the myths associated with the MTA’s latest fiscal crisis. Not only do the city’s elected officials still believe these myths, but they still spread them.
“This cannot be today the last opportunity the public has to make their voice heard,” [City Council Chair Christine] Quinn said. “By conducting business in this way, you send a message, perhaps unintentionally, but that the opinions of those you are charged to serve do not matter. Now that’s not the message you want to send. But worse than sending that message, you cut off any opportunity to have other ideas put on the table.” (via NY1)
“We in this city have been ambushed by the MTA by the quick of their vote today,” NYC Councilman (D), James Vacca said. (via WABC)
As I’ve mentioned before, the MTA has a legal obligation to pass a balanced budget by the end of the calendar year. There’s not time to put an array of other ideas on the table when the state dumps a $343 million funding shortfall on the MTA in early December. “Conducting business in this way” is the way the state requires the MTA to conduct business. But again, Quinn and Vacca would rather blame the MTA, not the state.
By the way, a full board meeting was always scheduled for today, so to suggest that the MTA pulled a fast one by calling a meeting at the last minute to vote on these cuts is completely disingenuous.
“This is a body that was charged with having cooked books,” NYC City Councilman Charles Barron said. “We don’t even know if you really have a deficit, or when you have a surplus, or what you do with the money when you do have a surplus.” (via NewYorkology)
A clever play on words by Barron. Yes, the MTA was charged with having cooked books (seven years ago, by the way), but was later absolved of those charges in court. And there’s a really simple way, Councilman Barron, to know if you “really have a deficit:” you review the MTA’s Financial Statements, which are posted right on their web site.
Public Advocate-elect Bill de Blasio released a statement on the vote saying: “The MTA’s vote today could very well result in students missing school because their families can’t afford the extra cost of a metro card. We cannot place such an unfair burden on low income students and their families in the middle of a recession.” (via NBC New York)
It’s funny, because I didn’t see Bill de Blasio release a similar statement when the state cut their already-paltry funding of student Metrocards to just $6 million last year and forced the MTA to pick up the bill.
There is a constant effort for elected officials who cut funding for the MTA to deflect blame back at the MTA for what is their own fault. It’s disgusting, and it’s unproductive. Until this pattern of pointing fingers stops, transit riders will continue to suffer, and nothing will get done.