|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Re: [Hangout - NYLXS] MTA
|From hangout-bounces-at-nylxs.com Sat Aug 5 22:49:52 2017
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From: Ruben Safir
Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2017 22:49:49 -0400
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Subject: Re: [Hangout - NYLXS] MTA
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By 2000, New Yorkers had started to catch onto the game of crisis
finances with the MTA. They proposed a referendum to borrow a then
record 3.8 billion split between the MTA and upstate roads. The report
from the NY Times, who is usually an apologist for MTA spending, admited:
In New York, the measure would have allowed the state to raise
$3.8 billion through general obligation bonds with $1.6 billion
going to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the
city's mass transit systems. The measure would have allocated an
additional $1.9 billion for the state highway program, with the
remaining $300 million for upstate transit systems, bridges and
for other purposes.
The bonds were seen as especially crucial for the M.T.A., which
needs a reliable chunk of money for a $17.1 billion, five-year
capital plan. The plan has been widely criticized because it
relies on expensive refinancing of old debt and requires the
agency to issue bonds for new debt on top of that.
When the second round of building made it's way, the public got pretty
hip to the scam the MTA was putting over on us. Alan Hevesi accused them
of running two sets of books and a new capital borrowing was soundly
defeated at the polls. Much of us thought that finally we would see
sensible funding applied to the MTA. We forgot the lessons of Boss
Moses. Little did we know that the MTA's shell games was just beginning,
and that planners for the system had on the drawing board billions of
dollars of expansions, and supposed improvements that would get shunted
to the capital budget as debt, only to return to the riders a few years
up the road as fares and tolls increased.
We never dreamed that in addition to the massive waste, that these
idiots that ran the MTA would also bring the system to its knees with
derailments, service outages, with passenger safety being put at risk,
and a rampant rat infestation and stations turned into homelessness
shelters. The MTA has all but declared war on the riding public, and in
doing so has drawn a dagger right to the heart of the city's vitality
and economic development.
Let's look, for example, at the case of Macy's and Herald Square. As one
of the crown jewels of New York City's corporate citizenry and symbol of
so much of our legacy. Tourists and locals flock to their central store
to spend afternoons, shopping and dining in an organization that truly
understands customer service and communal participation. From the
Thanksgiving Day Parade, to the fireworks on the 4th of July, Macy's has
packed in crowds for generations. People come from all around the city
to attend Macy's events and shop at the flagship store.
They pour in through the Herald Square subway station, the PATH Train
and the LIRR, and during the Christmas season it is nearly a crush to
navigate all seven stories of the store.
Packed with Macy's shopping bags, seen all about Broadway, everything
stops when one reenters the 34th street train station. Aside from being
unbearably hot, with air so thick that is makes it hard to breath, the
station stinks not only from urine, but also from the over 20
permanently settled homeless people who threaten passengers, take over
all the benches, fill the trash cans up with boxes of rotting garbage
and turn the 6th Avenue line into a shany town.
Macy's customers pack onto filthy trains with vomit and garbage in cars
occupied by even more homeless. Few places in the city stand in starker
contrast. How can the city be allowed to treat a model citizen such and
RH Macy's so abusively to make its primary transit access a rat infested
3rd world slum?
Welcome to Macy's, and Welcome to New York City.
By the time the press finally got a handle of this ghastly situation,
the Mayor and the Governor kicked back and forth responsibility for the
current crises. It is a circus that is not worth repeating here. Find it
in the NY Post and the Daily News. The MTA itself has apologized and
gave a perfectly plausible sounding explanation and plan for a fix of
the situation. And this is where New Yorkers need listen to what is
being said by the MTA very carefully, and to understand what is the
meaning of what they are say.
The MTA said that it has misused its capital budget for big ticket items
instead of having an accelerated track signal replacement program. And
furthermore, they are blaming underfunding, particularly the failure to
toll the Brooklyn Bridge, as a reason for funding shortcomings.
Really, Robert Moses could steam over all of NYC's government, threaten
Washington DC, build the worlds longest suspension bridge, and turn New
York State into his private fiefdom with the earnings from the tolls
that the MTA now possesses, but this leadership, and its band of experts
and press followers can't get so much as the B trains switches to work
during rush hour and reliably move a train from W4th Street to Broadway
Lafayette. We are hearing echos that they need congestion pricing on the
East River Bridges. It kills the MTA that anyone can move from Brooklyn
to Manhattan without them getting a cut. It is a nightmare, and we have
to end it.
Not only does the MTA have the largest funding it has ever had, and its
funding outside of dept-services has beaten inflation by 50%. In total
it is up to 15.7 billion dollars in revenue, and only 8 percent of that
is from Moses Tolls and transportation fares.
Something is seriously wrong and feeding this monster is not the answer.
What we need to do is hold it accountable. It is time to dismantle the
MTA. Hand the NY Transit back to NYC along with the tolled roads, and
hand the LIRR and Metro North back to NY State and let Nassau and
Westchester grapple with it.
It's been said from upstate politicians that they don't want to pay MTA
taxes since it helps NYC more than Orange County. That is a falsehood,
with a touch of maliciousness towards the city added in. If they don't
need the MTA, there is no reason for NYC to pay for MetroNorth. If
MetroNorth, and New Jersey, and Long Island things its growth is not
tied to the transportation grid that connects it to NYC, I'm willing to
run that experiment. What I am not willing to do is to continue with a
public cooperation which is not accountable to anyone.
The MTA has huge pockets when it comes to spending our money. They have
WIFI in subway stations now so the homeless can feel more connected,
signalling systems that know the absolute location of every train as
they sit between stations in lower Manhattan for an hour at a time. We
have endless countdown clocks and smartphone aps to tell us where every
bus is, instead of just giving us that we want which is swift and
regular buses, and dependable and fast trains.
The MTA has built and entire new floor to Grand Central Station, which
was under capacity to begin with, so that LIRR riders don't need to take
the subway across town. It would have been cheaper to make that a free
transfer from Atlantic Avenue. It buys million dollar buses that can't
handle passenger service, but are state of the art eclectic buses. We
have more signage telling us how to behave than signage to tell us what
train we are on. It never ends.
The system that had virtually no capital debt in 1980, today struggles
with $40,000,000,000 in capital debt. That is $5000 for every man, woman
and child in New York City. That is 2.5 billion in debt service a year.
That is 2.5 billion in debt service a year.
Consider this. The Times reports:
As New York City's sprawling subway faces a deepening crisis
over delays, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says
that modernizing the signals is a top priority. But the rollout
of a new signal network is unfolding at a glacial pace even as
the subway system is straining under the demands of a booming
ridership. Two decades after the agency began its push to upgrade
signals, work has been completed on just one line.
At the current pace, transforming every subway line could take
half a century and cost $20 billion.
We obviously can not continue like this. While the press and the MTA
keeps blaming its troubles on an "ancient" infrastructure, particularly
switches, the truth is that the system in 1940 had almost twice the
number of rides, and a particularly intense rush hour in the days when
Wall Street was filled with brokers, secretaries, feeders, and dozens of
other category of workers that have been put out of the workforce by the
digital era. And yet they can't fix and replace a 19th century piece of
technology like a simple switch... you know a switch is a switch....
exactly like the light switch in the bathroom. We have to ask what are
they building and why are they do it?
Meanwhile, the Mayor has to take the major blame for the Subway
problems. Why? Here is why:
There is no excuse for this. This is a direct result of a Mayor who just
doesn't give a damn about working New Yorkers who are struggling to
raise families in the York City. His attitude towards us is disgraceful.
It is almost as bad as this vomit in a subway car I photographed here.
Here is a typical Mayoral attitude towards our suffering.
"Why would I want to give up NYC taxpayer dollars, which are
not abundant?" Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference. "The
state has not reimbursed the MTA for the money it took. Let's
do that first." -- Bill De Blasio
Faced with a systemwide breakdown and an MTA leadership which just
continually soaks up more and more money, this Mayor is not even aware
of what the voters suffer, let alone can properly advocate for cost
containment in a rational manner, let alone normal police protection
within the tunnels and platforms of the subway. He is a bad man, and has
to go if we are to get anywhere with the highly corrupt selffunding MTA.
So many immigrant groups have swept through our town
that Brooklyn, like Atlantis, reaches mythological
proportions in the mind of the world - RI Safir 1998
DRM is THEFT - We are the STAKEHOLDERS - RI Safir 2002
http://www.nylxs.com - Leadership Development in Free Software
http://www2.mrbrklyn.com/resources - Unpublished Archive
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Being so tracked is for FARM ANIMALS and and extermination camps,
but incompatible with living as a free human being. -RI Safir 2013
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