Its Commuter Emptor In The Empire State
Now you see it. Now you don’t!
First the MTA has a deficit, then, suddenly, it has a surplus. Is there anyone at this loathsome excuse for a “public” authority who has taken a basic course in accounting?
Toll hikes. Fare hikes. Where does it all end? [We already know whose pockets it comes out of!]
If the public had its say, quite frankly – and half of a will to act (as in, God forbid, vote) – three-quarters (and we're being conservative here) of these so-called public authorities – bastions of political patronage and responsible for amassing billions of dollars in debt -- would be eliminated. The MTA and the various Bridge and Tunnel Authorities – and all of their over-reaching tentacles – would be among the first to go!
As for funding mass transit, rebuilding bridges, and the sundry other transportation circus acts that bonds, tolls, and fare increases past were supposed to cover (and then some) – other than yet another increase in fares and tolls (just how much do we have to pay to cross the Hudson or venture through Staten Island?) – here’s an idea: VLTs.
Yes, Video Lottery Terminals! We can put them right next to the ticket/Metrocard machines at every railroad and subway station, at the rest stops along the thruway, Penn Station, Grand Central, public libraries, and at conveniently located Stop & Shops and 7-11 stores. Forget Belmont. Let’s bring revenue-raising to the masses, and millions to mass transit. A VLT on every street corner beats a fare/toll hike, any day of the week!
Oh sure. Governor Spitzer intervened to stave off a fare increase for NYC transit riders. [A bargain at two dollars a pop, no doubt.] What will this mean for LIRR and Metro North riders? Will they be called upon to pick up the slack?
And what will it cost to get out of New York by car, come the new year? We suppose we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, eh?
Well, at least the platitudes -- and two dollars -- can still get us a ride on the New York City subway.
Meanwhile, back on Long Island: "State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) ripped the scenario as benefiting strap-hangers over his constituents, saying, 'Gov. Spitzer gave a Thanksgiving gift to New York City subway riders at the expense of overburdened Long Island commuters.'"
Perhaps so. But how does one account for the MTA's surplus cum deficit, and vice versa?
And wouldn't someone like Senator Skelos, a member of the MTA's Capital Program Review Board [the folks who review, monitor and approve the MTA's multi-billion dollar spending programs], know where the money went, was, will be?
Nah. The people who are supposedly watching the hen house -- and calling upon their constituents to sign petitions to stop the fare increases -- are too busy asking silly questions, like, "What does the MTA do with a billion dollar surplus?"
Gee, Dean. If you don't know, how should we?