Even More Free Perk Usage Details

While preparing to write an entry on a completely different topic, I came across Daily News Transit Reporter Pete Donohue’s report on the usage value of the E-Z Pass tags used by MTA Board Members. To say the numbers are disturbing would be a huge understatement. Here is Pete’s report courtesy of the Daily News:

Current and former MTA board members took more than $30,000 worth of free bridge and tunnel trips – in just one year, the Daily News has learned.

Nearly four dozen transit bigwigs, some of whom left the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board decades ago, racked up 7,513 in free bridge and tunnel trips from November 2006 to November 2007, according to E-Z Pass records obtained by The News.

They were among those granted free E-ZPasses for unsalaried work on the authority board, a perk the MTA will end if a resolution is adopted by the board next week.

During the tug of war over the passes, which extends to commuter trains, subways and buses, some board members argued that having free access is a small “thank-you” for their unsalaried public service.

The E-ZPass records, provided by the MTA in response to a Freedom of Information Law request submitted by The News, begin to put a price tag to those taxpayer-funded gifts.

The most frequent user of a free E-ZPasses for that time period was former board member Warren Dolny, who was Rockland County’s representative on the board from 1989 to 1996.

MTA toll gates opened for Dolny without charge 918 times.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels says the average toll across the system is about $4.

The records don’t show which bridges or tunnels were used during the jaunts, just the number of “nonrevenue E-ZPass transactions.”

Second on the list is bus driver Ed Watt, a current nonvoting board member. Watt also is secretary treasurer of Transport Workers Union Local 100. He took 839 free trips.

“Ed’s full-time job is conducting MTA business, and that’s what he uses his E-ZPass for,” a union spokesman said.

Former board member Richard Nasti came in third at 674 trips. Current board members and fellow multimillionaires David Mack and Donald Cecil came in fourth and fifth, respectively, with 585 and 570 freebie drives.

I’m so disgusted by this!

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