NYC Council Member Calls on State Comptroller to Audit MTA and NYC Subway System

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — Tuesday, June 27, 2017 — A New York City council member says he wants an audit into how taxpayers’ money is being spent on upgrading the city’s struggling subway system.

Council member Ydanis Rodriguez, who also serves as the chairman of the council’s Committee on Transportation, spoke Tuesday near the scene in Harlem where a subway train derailed in the morning, causing non-life-threatening injuries to more than 30 people.

Rodriguez called on State Comptroller Thomas  DiNapoli to investigate the train system “line-by-line.”

Rodriguez said that “enough is enough” and that “this is a breaking point.”

Below are Mr. Rodriguez’s comments, verbatim:

Rodriguez: “morning everyone. This morning, I took a train at 8:40 in the morning, [at] Dyckman Street (northern tip of Manhattan), and if any of you follow my Twitter, you can see how the A train on Dyckman Street looked like, at 8:30 in the morning: almost packed. Yes, because the MTA [the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, agency that runs the city’s subways] has not been able to upgrade the signal system in this particular line, of the A train. This is a breaking point. Enough is enough. The MTA is a 1-trillion-dollar corporation, with a value of 30 billion dollars, with seven municipalities, from Westchester to Long Island, Connecticut and New York City, making important contribution. Our contribution is not only 3 billion dollars. Our contribution as a city, is the 50 cents that anyone contributes when they take a yellow taxi. Our contribution is when any particular New Yorker sells a residential house, and the value is more than 500,000 dollars, there are taxes that go to the MTA. We deserve to run the MTA at the same level of London, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Today, as the chairman of the Transportation Committee of the New York City Council, I’m calling to put politics aside, and to recognize that we have a big responsibility, to run a transportation system (inaudible) that New Yorkers and tourists deserve. That’s why I’m calling the (New York) State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, to come onboard, and do a line-by-line audit, on how we invest our single dollars to do the maintenance and repair and to upgrade the signals of these trains.”

Rodriguez: “what I believe that we are facing today, is a better plan, is a comprehensive plan, and New Yorkers deserve to know, all the information, when the project starts, when the project will be finished. For many years, even before it came to chairing this committee, we’ve been told that the money (inaudible) to upgrade signal of the A train, and it is still, we cannot go to residents of Inwood, residents of the West Side, residents of Brooklyn, and Far Rockaway, to know when will we finish upgrading the signal of the A train. So I think this is the time for State Comptroller to come onboard, and do a line-by-line audit on how we spend taxpayer dollars for the seven municipalities that make many contributions to the largest transportation system in the world, the MTA.”

MTA Board Meeting – June 21, 2017

MTA Board Meeting – Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Speaking:

John Raskin
Executive Director of the Riders Alliance

John Raskin (starts speaking around 47:00 in the webcast): “I’m here to talk to you about a problem that you’re likely familiar with, given the level of rage and frustration from millions of daily transit riders, which is the rapid deterioration of our public transit system, as a very old system that has been underinvested in, and continues to fall apart. Governor Cuomo did not invent the policy of investing too little in mass transit. The state has been culpable for decades for putting too little money in, and in recent years, year over year, taking money out of MTA’s budget. But Governor Cuomo has been in office for six years, and it’s his responsibility now to address the problem. One month ago, Governor Cuomo gathered the public to announce that he would take responsibility for fixing our ailing transit system. But the governor has yet to produce a plan for how he will do that, or the timeline for a plan, or a notion of how he will find the funding, to make that possible. In fact, the only significant proposals, that have been put forth in the month since Governor Cuomo said he would take responsibility for fixing the system, are the MTA’s amendment to the capital program, which provided for various of Governor Cuomo’s priorities, but did nothing to fix the day-to-day problems on the subway system, and the governor’s last-minute proposal of yesterday afternoon, to restructure the MTA board, which every serious observer knows is not actually the barrier to improving the public transit. Any path to fixing our subway system begins with Governor Cuomo putting forth a credible plan for how to upgrade the MTA equipment, improve MTA operations, and institute a fair sustainable funding source to make it work. Taking responsibility is a necessary first step, and that’s the step that governor took in public, a month ago, but the next step is a plan, and that is something that riders are still waiting for. Thank you.”