PCAC Testimony – October 23, 2019 – Looking Back and Looking Forward


Good morning, I’m Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC. On October 24, 2018, I made my first comments to the Board in my role here. I spoke about two different task force efforts: to reduce Transit’s complex and lengthy procurement procedures; and addressing key cost drivers and schedule delays to bring down the price of capital projects. We’re seeing the benefits of those efforts now, and look forward to continued success.

Indeed, over the past year we’ve seen significant changes that benefit riders in both the short- and long-terms. This Board, the leadership around the room and all of the more than 74,000 MTA employees are making this transformation possible.

A year ago, we weren’t sure if Congestion Pricing would pass and bring its much needed dedicated funding stream to the Fast Forward plan. The good news, of course, is that it did pass thanks to Governor Cuomo and his partners in the state legislature, and a lot of hard work from people in this room. The better news is that Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North riders will also benefit from these funds through the visions laid out in LIRR Forward and Metro-North Way Ahead.

We didn’t know what the FY2020-24 Capital Plan would look like, and now we know the region will benefit from the unprecedented investment our infrastructure has sorely needed, with new signals, tracks, rolling stock and accessibility that will transform the system. As a 7 line rider, I know how CBTC changes things! The increased ridership and improved on-time performance are testaments to what a difference these kinds of investments can make. At the same time, the bus network is being redesigned to meet the needs of today’s riders – a herculean and unenviable task that will rationalize bus travel in the city. We’re also really excited about the move toward more transparency, including the new budget dashboard.

The next year will be challenging, with the new transformation plan; large looming deficits and the need for a dedicated revenue stream for operating funds; the implementation of Congestion Pricing; and kick-off of the Capital Plan.

Obviously, there is still plenty more to be done. We look forward to what the next year will bring.

Download here: 102319 Looking back and Looking Forward rev