PCAC Testimony – June 23, 2021 – The Need for Committee Meetings; East Side Access Operations; Supporting Penn Station Access; and Freedom Ticket Phase II


Greetings, I am Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC. I am delivering my testimony on Monday, June 21st for the Wednesday, June 23rd Board meeting, so apologies if I have missed any breaking news in the intervening days.

As seasons change and we spring into summer, and as many COVID restrictions have been lifted in New York State, we’re glad that phased in in person meetings are here, though we’re looking forward to attending. However, we’re anxious for the day when Committee meetings – where detailed presentations on projects and proposals are shared – will be reinstated. You are doing good work and should be talking about it in that forum.

Quick overviews and written synopses are no substitute. The details provided at Committee meetings also help to inform our testimony. For instance, we have questions about the East Side Access Special Purpose Entity that you’ll be discussing. We first inquired about this at the May 7th Senate Committee oversight hearing, and it’s possible our questions would be answered during Committee meetings; in their absence, we’ll raise them here:

From what we understand, a new entity will be responsible for operating and maintaining infrastructure supporting the LIRR’s access into Grand Central. The LIRR will be responsible for its railroad operations, and Metro-North will remain responsible for its existing operations and management at Grand Central. How will the three collaborate in planning and delivering service and managing unified operations? Most importantly, how will it affect riders? We look forward to East Side Access opening next year and hope for a seamless commute.

Similarly, we look forward to Penn Access and were pleased to testify in support of it last week. With it, commuter rail will finally be in the reach of east Bronx riders, many of whom don’t live anywhere near a subway. It must also be financially within their reach. To truly make this new transit option equitable and move people out of express buses and cars, it is crucial that the MTA embrace expanding Atlantic Ticket and implementing Freedom Ticket phase 2: city commuter rail fare discounts with transfers to subways and buses.

Thank you.

Download Here: PCAC Testimony at MTA Board 6.23.2021