Over the years I have hammered home many different points on this blog. Regular readers know that the biggest one was how our elected officials are the most responsible for the overall mess the MTA routinely finds itself in.
While the MTA has made their share of mistakes, they were only a fraction of the problem as elected officials throughout the years has made the MTA their favorite scapegoat, especially when they needed perfectly timed “C.B.P.” aka “Constituent Brownie Points”. The mostly uninformed riding public would fall right in line by eating up the same rah rah nonsense from their elected officials.
So it comes as no surprise to me that, in a recent Marist Poll conducted for the Wall Street Journal, just over 60% of city residents find the MTA to be the most responsible for fare hikes, service cuts & the like. Andrew Grossman of the Wall Street Journal has more:
Transit advocates are trying to channel public anger about the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s service cuts and fare increases into the November legislative elections. But a new poll shows that most New Yorkers don’t blame their elected officials, but the MTA itself.
Just over 60% of New York City residents think the agency is most responsible for the service cuts and fare hikes—not the Legislature, Mayor Michael Bloomberg or Gov. David Paterson, according to a Marist College poll conducted for The Wall Street Journal.
“They’re as popular as Goldman Sachs,” said Gene Russianoff, who runs the Straphangers Campaign, a subway-rider advocacy group.
The MTA cut two subway lines and dozens of bus routes in June to help fill a $800 million gap in its $12 billion 2010 budget. It raised fares last summer and will likely do so again in January 2011. The authority’s board will hold public hearings on a proposed 7.5% increase beginning Monday night.
Since taking over the top job at the authority in September 2009, MTA Chief Executive Jay Walder has tried to cut costs at an agency that traditionally has been criticized as bloated and inefficient. That effort resulted in $525 million in annual savings and praise from public officials who are usually quick to criticize the agency.
The uncertain budget picture has some advocacy groups trying to increase pressure on candidates to support new funding streams for the MTA, such as congestion pricing—a scheme, championed by Mr. Bloomberg, to charge drivers to enter crowded parts of Manhattan during the day. It has failed to gain support in the Legislature.
The MTA doesn’t “print their own money. They don’t control the state budget and they certainly don’t control the dedicated taxes that the legislature can pass to fund them,” said Noah Budnick, the deputy director of Transportation Alternatives, a group that tries to persuade people to find other ways to travel than driving. Mr. Budnick’s group is running a “Rider Rebellion” campaign that seeks to put pressure on candidates to support more funding for mass transit.
Click here for the complete report.
This report truly comes as no surprise to me. I have tried my best to educate people over the years via this blog, personal conversations, etc… that the MTA is not the sole culprit in its routine dismal state. They truthfully are an agency that operates alone in a lot of ways but at the mercy of our elected officials.
For years our elected officials have shown no desire or knowledge (if not both) as to how vital mass transit is to the region. For the last couple of decades, they have routinely sacrificed the future for a short term gain in the present. When the future becomes the present, they find themselves stuck in a situation that is dire & leads to the riding public being forced to deal with the consequences.
Do our elected officials take the time to help out their constituents? No, they rather enact measures that are counterproductive to their constituents. If it is not that, they jump on any little chance to bash the MTA to gain praise from those same constituents they routinely shortchange. Of course they are not smart enough to see they are being played & instead jump on the “Blame The MTA” bandwagon.
Well ladies & gentlemen, ask yourself why you tend to repeat history & complain when the results are always the same. Instead of scapegoating the MTA (who has enough to worry about), put your local leaders feet to the fire by demanding they come up with sustainable solutions for the much maligned transit agency. If they do not, you will use your power to vote them out onto the street.
Wait, who am I kidding? Why do something that makes so much sense when it is so much easier to do nothing but pass false blame & bitch to anyone who will listen to our drivel. How sad…..
xoxo Transit Blogger