Friday, October 02, 2009

Help Get The MTA Off Our Backs

Vote For George (Charlie) O'Brien On Election Day -- Or Walter ;-)

Now you citizens of Boston,
Don't you think it's a scandal
How the people have to pay and pay
Fight the fare increase!
Vote for Charlie O'Brien
Get poor Charlie off the MTA.


Wrong MTA. Different era. Still the same old song, though.

The MTA -- the one that continues to pick our pockets here in New York -- broke, borrowing, and morally bereft [we'd say bankrupt, but, for reasons known only to our State Legislators (and they're not talking), we insist on keeping this teetering public authority afloat], is spending our tax dollars again, insistent that their costly capital projects move forward.

The Second Avenue subway. [Weren't they working on that when we were kids, nearly half a century ago? Gosh, do we feel old!] $16 billion, and still digging.

East Side Access. [Any relation to West Side Story?]. Does the LIRR really need to pull into Grand Central? $6.3 billion, and counting. It would be an East Side Comedy, if this spending with abandon wasn't so darn serious!

But wait, there's more. . .

Extension of the subway to the far west side. Who told 'em to build a convention center without access to public transportation? Jacob Javits must be turning over in his grave.

The $750 million Fulton Transit Center. Sounds fishy to us.

$400 million for a new South Ferry terminal. Sure. Why not? Its only money.

$137.9 million to build a second track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma. How about fixing and upgrading the existing tracks, system-wide? Can we get anybody on board with that?

When the MTA Board (how many presidents does it take to run a railroad?)voted in late Spetember -- after raising fares, tolls, and payroll taxes -- to spend $28.1 billion for infrastructure improvements through 2014 (a sum which will barely close the MTA's financial gap -- a gap no one in Albany is watching --through 2010), didn't anyone try to stop this runaway train?

"My overriding concern continues to be how this plan will be funded," said Sen. Craig Johnson (D-Port Washington), who sits on the MTA Capital Program Review Board. "We need to know if this is a realistic plan, or a wish list."

Realistic? How could the MTA's plan be realistic? THEY HAVE NO MONEY! [Wait a minute. They have our money!]

Understand. We believe, quite strongly, in rebuilding New York, as we do in reshaping suburbia here on Long Island, but folks, when you've got no money, essentially in hock up to your eyeballs, you simply cannot spend and spend some more.

How will the MTA's "wish list" be funded? As it always is -- by toll hikes, fare hikes, and taxes, taxes, taxes. And who will be called upon to bail out the MTA -- yet again -- when next they cry poverty? Ah, that would be we, the people, from the Dashing Dans, to those who frequent New York's bridges, tunnels, and toll roads, themselves victims of the MTA's blunders and plunders.

Back in 2000, then NYS Comptroller, Carl McCall, issued a report on the MTA's Capital Program. It was entitled, Unanswered Questions.

Well, now we know the answers. Indeed, we -- and they -- knew them way back when. DON'T SPEND WHAT YOU DON'T HAVE!

Oh yes. You can get a Charlie Card to ride the Boston MTA. Not a nickel anymore. Then again, that subway ride in NYC hasn't been a dime for quite some time.

And what do we get in New York when we shout, scream, and yell -- to just about anyone who will listen (though no no seems to actually care) -- about the latest outrages at the MTA?

Charlie horse, that's all. Charlie horse.

Well, at least the Boston MTA had a catchy tune. For New York's MTA, just another public authority run amuck, its the same old tired song.

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