Service Diversions 08-22

I have just updated the service diversions page with the latest scheduled diversions for this weekend plus next week (and beyond in some cases). Don’t forget to check in for any changes to the page. I also suggest printing out a copy of the page to use while riding the system.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Gov. Patterson Appoints New MTA Board Member

Catching up with news from the last 24 hours, New York Governor David A. Patterson has appointed a new MTA Board member. The new board member is Allen P. Cappelli, a 53 year old criminal defense lawyer who was at one time an ex-Democratic lobbyist. His appointment to the board was made to fill in the vacancy created by the passing of board member Francis H. Powers in June. William Neuman of the New York Times has more on the new board member:

Gov. David A. Paterson on Tuesday appointed a Staten Island lawyer and former lobbyist to the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The lawyer, Allen P. Cappelli, a longtime Democratic political operative, worked as the campaign manager for Carl C. McCall during his unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2002.

Mr. Cappelli, 53, was also a political adviser to the former Bronx borough president Fernando Ferrer, and was his communications director from 1998 to 2002. Before that, he was appointed to several posts by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, including director of the state ombudsman’s office, and was a top campaign aide to Mr. Cuomo during his losing bid for re-election in 1994.

Click here for the entire article.

The governor’s website issued a press release to announce the appointment:

Governor David A. Paterson today announced the appointment of Allen P. Cappelli as a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board. Mr. Cappelli, of Staten Island, is currently working as an attorney in private practice.

“Allen Cappelli will fill an important vacancy on the MTA board,” said Governor Paterson. “Allen will continue to be a strong voice not only for Staten Island, but also for the eight million people who take New York public transportation each day. I look forward to his confirmation.”

Mr. Cappelli resides in Staten Island with his wife, Marina, and their three children. He has served as a board member for Project Hospitality, Staten Island Community Television and St. Vincent’s Medical Center of Richmond. He served as Vice Chairman and Land Use Chairman for Staten Island’s Community Board One and as a commissioner representing Staten Island on the New York State Charter Commission.

Professionally, Mr. Cappelli served as Communications Director to Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer from 1998 to 2002 before opening his own law office. From 1994 to 1997, Mr. Cappelli was a member of the New York State Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, serving as Chairman of the board from 1994 to 1995. Mr. Cappelli served as Assistant Special Deputy Superintendent to the New York State Department of Insurance from 1988 to 1994, and as Director of the Office of the New York State Ombudsman from 1986 to 1988.

Mr. Cappelli received his J.D. from New York Law School, cum laude, and his B.A. from the City University of New York’s College of Staten Island.

Mr. Cappelli’s term runs through June 30, 2009. This is an unpaid position and requires confirmation by the Senate.

I am curious to see how Mr. Cappelli will do as the newest board member considering his past history with the MTA. He has been notorious for questioning the MTA’s investment in Staten Island transportation options along with their overall operational track record system wide. I sincerely hope he does not do a complete 180 & becomes a yes man on the board. Transit riders across the region do not need another yes man on the board.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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LIRR President To Discuss Major Service Disruptions

Just a little while ago I received a press release from the LIRR in my inbox. The press release was to announce a press conference being held by Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) President Helena Williams. The press conference is being held to discuss this weekend’s major service disruptions due to the Queens Interlocking Project. Here is the press release that will appear on the MTA’s site later today:

PRESS CONFERENCE MEDIA ADVISORY

LIRR PRESIDENT TO DISCUSS MAJOR RAILROAD SERVICE DISRUPTION THIS COMING WEEKEND (AUGUST 23-24)

WHEN: Thursday, August 21, 11:00 AM

WHERE: LIRR Headquarters
93-02 Sutphin Blvd.
Jamaica, NY

MTA Long Island Rail Road President Helena Williams will discuss the planned major LIRR service disruption that will take place this weekend (August 23-24) affecting four branches of the railroad and thousands of customers.

Members of the media wishing to attend are requested to contact the LIRR Press Office at 718-558-7301.

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Political Group Wants Riders To Help Fight The Hike

When you pick up your Tuesday copy of the New York Daily News, you will see an article writing by Joseph Addabbo Jr. Mr. Addabbo along with his fellow Queens Councilman John Liu are part of the team which brings you the anti-fare hike site Fight The Hike 08. The group will unveil its plan to starve off a potential fare hike next year. For now here is a sample of Mr. Addabbo’s article which will appear in today’s New York Daily News:

The MTA apparently has a time machine. Last month the authority announced that it wants to make history for the second time since the 1980s by raising the fare yet again for a second consecutive year. The announcement tops off what has been a year of outrageous forays into transportation proposals paid for on the backs of the middle class.

The MTA has a widening budget gap of nearly $900 million and it expects transit riders to pay the bill. But I am not convinced that service has improved since March, even when the MTA raised the monthly MetroCard rate, a move that targeted commuters rather than tourists, yet the MTA expects the middle class to shell out more for the shortfall.

I’m starting a campaign to Fight the Hike in order to make our voices heard. Visit www.fightthehike08.com to register your opposition and find out what you can do to keep the subway affordable. Look for me at various Queens subway stops where I’ll be out talking to commuters and collecting signatures, so we can let the MTA know that Queens says “no” to any future fare hikes.

Click here to read the complete article.

Lets be frank here, signatures even if it came from every NYC resident would not starve off a fare hike. What would stop a fare hike? The one thing that regardless of the industry makes the world go around, & that is money. So lets skip over the meaningless signature drives & focus on finding ways to get much deserved funding for the MTA. Money talks, bullshit walks!

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Singing The Same Old Tune

The world of local transit news has been relatively quiet over the last week. This worked out great for me as I was extremely lethargic for most of last week & coupled with having little time, I could not update the blog. The biggest piece of news for the week came on Thursday with the release of a 3 page report by New York City’s Independent Budget Office. The report basically repeated the same tune many including myself have sung for ages. Here is a brief look at the 3 page report from an article by Sewell Chan (w/ contributions by Ken Belson) of the New York Times’ City Room Blog:

State and city subsidies to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have remained largely flat since 1990, exacerbating the authority’s fiscal pressures at a time when it is threatening to raise fares and facing steep deficits because of the turbulence in the real estate market, according to a new report.

The three-page report [pdf], released by the city’s Independent Budget Office on Thursday, did not make any policy recommendations, but it suggested that the intense news coverage of the authority’s troubled finances has largely overlooked the issue of government subsidies. The authority collects far more revenue from subway, bus and commuter rail fares, dedicated taxes, and bridge and tunnel tolls than it draws from direct government aid.

“It remains to be decided whether new types of subsidies are necessary, or whether existing levels should be altered by adjusting terms that have held some subsides flat for a decade,” the report’s authors, Alan Treffeisen and Doug Turetsky, wrote. “But in order to best decide how to aid the M.T.A. in the future, a common understanding of how much assistance the city and state provide today is needed.”

Click here to read the full report.

This report did nothing but sing the same tune many have sang for ages. People in touch with the daily happenings & needs of our system know that our government on all levels is as much if not more so to blame for the MTA’s financial crisis than the agency itself. This is a severe black eye for government considering how the MTA is not exactly the most fiscally responsible operation.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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