PCAC Testimony – January 23, 2020 – R179 Incident and Procurement

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Good morning, my name is Lisa Daglian and I am the Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC. To those of you I haven’t seen yet, happy new year! To those among the new transformation leadership, welcome! We look forward to working with you on behalf of the nearly nine million daily riders we represent. To Governor Cuomo, if you’re listening, thank you for including three billion critical dollars in your Executive budget for the 20-24 Capital Program. A lot is already happening this year – and its only January!

Earlier this week, we heard the good news that the R179s should be back in service soon, pending concrete assurances that they are safe. We need the most modern fleet possible, so getting them back into service needs to be done cautiously but quickly. We’re also glad that you are proceeding cautiously with purchases of the R262s. Let’s see how the open gangways work in New York before we’re in for a penny and a pound. We look forward test riding the R211s and seeing how they’ll change the rider experience first.

Change can be good, and it should carry over to the procurement process. Using low bid is clearly not the best way to do business – we’ve seen that countless times. We ask the MTA Board to move to the same RFP approach to the purchase of rolling stock and other capital procurements that it is using for design-build projects. The Governor’s budget proposal includes procurement reform so now’s a good time to take it a step further. There has to be a better way to increase competition and bring other players to the game.

On the subject of finding a better way, it’s time to change the debarment rules to reflect the reality of the market – and to have other players want to work with the MTA. It’s time to turn the emergency rules into regulations that hold contractors responsible but are actionable and practical. Thank you.

Full Testimony:1.23.20 R179 Incident and Procurement

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