What to Know
- On Wednesday, the MTA sent four of its top executives to Albany for the year’s first budget hearing on transportation
- MTA President Pat Foye, Managing Director Ronnie Hakim, Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber and CFO Bob Foran were all present
- The MTA officials answered questions from lawmakers, including about accessibility and service quality
On Wednesday, the MTA sent four of its top executives to Albany for the year’s first budget hearing on transportation where legislators grilled them on accessibility and the agency's overall service.
MTA President Pat Foye, Managing Director Ronnie Hakim, Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber and CFO Bob Foran were all present at the State Senate’s transportation committee budget hearing. However, the MTA did not send NYCT President Andy Byford who authored the $40 billion “Fast Forward” subway modernization plan.
The agency is seeking tens of billions of dollars to modernize and replace signals throughout the subway system.
Here are some takeaways from the budget hearing:
Congestion Pricing Could Avert Fare Hikes
Foye testified that without congestion pricing the MTA would have to raise fares 27 percent over the next five years — increasing the MetroCard to $3.50.
Accessibility Is “Top Priority”
Transportation Chair Sen. Tim Kennedy asked the MTA about the tragic death of Malaysia Goodson and the MTA’s commitment to accessibility. Goodson was found dead at the bottom of the subway station steps in Manhattan — a stroller with her 1-year-old daughter was still in her arms. Hakim called Goodson’s death “horrific.”
“As a mother this is absolutely tragic and horrific,” she said.
Hakim also explained there is a $1 billion commitment to accessibility, stressing it is a “top priority.” She also said the MTA is working ahead of pace and that Byford has committed to increasing accessibility at an “unprecedented rate.”
“Tap-And-Go” MetroCard Replacements a Soon-To-Be Reality
Straphangers could soon be using new MetroCard replacements that will rid them of the ubiquitous floppy cards. Officials said the MTA will be unveiling its replacement for MetroCards starting in October — years sooner than previously anticipated — with buses on Staten Island. The say the new cards will employ a “tap-and-go” style system in which riders can use there smartphones.
Elevator Maintenance is “Complicated”
When legislator Jo Anne Simon, of Brooklyn, asked MTA officials why the transportation agency was having such a hard time enforcing repairs at about 80 elevators maintained by private developers, the MTA’s answer, in a nutshell, is: it’s complicated.
MTA is Not Satisfied With Its Level of Service
When a lawmaker asked about the transportation agency’s service, about service in general, Foye said they were not satisfied. “We are not happy with the service and we do owe the public an apology. Period,“ he said.
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The hearing comes a day after Kennedy said he will take a “very close look” at MTA employees who earn six-figure salaries during a budget hearing scheduled for this week.
“The fact that there are 2,500 individuals that made over $300,000 within the administration deserves a very close look,” Kennedy said. “We are going to be asking questions about that.”
The MTA disputed Kennedy's figures -- and the original New York Times analysis of federal data. According to the agency, subway managers make $240,000, on average -- $135,600 in salary/wage and $104,400 in fringe benefit. All subway workers, on average, make $155,000 a year -- $87,600 in salary/wage and $67,400 in fringe benefit.
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The MTA didn't say how many personnel make that $240,000 annually.
For his part, Kennedy said the committee's job "is to hold the MTA accountable."
"And you're going to see accountability demanded," he said