Statement of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA
Before the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board
April 28, 2010
I am William Henderson, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA. The PCAC serves as the umbrella organization for three Councils representing the interests of public transportation users: the Long Island Rail Road Commuter’s Council, the Metro-North Rail Road Commuters Council, and the New York City Transit Riders Council.
I want to speak briefly on the proposed Capital Program that you will be considering today. In view of the available funding and the requirements that are set out in State law, this is a positive and thoughtful program and we support it. The “fix what’s broken” philosophy that guides this plan is in tune with what riders have been saying for years. Likewise, we no longer have the luxury, if we ever did, of maintaining multiple facilities to perform the same functions simply to give each MTA agency sole control of its maintenance operations. We are also pleased with the focus on operating costs in this Capital Program. Riders want to see a system that meets their needs while it is as efficient as possible, and the MTA should help them to understand the linkages between projects such as smart card fare collection and your ability to sell fares and operate buses and trains at lower expense to the MTA.
In a more perfect world there would be more improvements included in the Capital Program. The needs in our subway stations are immense, and not all of them can be addressed under this Program. A second LIRR track between Ronkonkoma and Farmingdale is long overdue, and we continue to believe that planning for a Main Line third track should continue to progress. We want to maintain a high standard in Metro-North stations and want the Railroad to maintain a robust traction power system. In our imperfect world, we have resources for two years of critical capital projects and a ten billion dollar gap in funding the full five year program. That’s the point I want to leave with: our elected officials must realize that, even though this is a strong plan for which you should be commended, no one can declare victory and go home. There’s too much work left to be done.