Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lack of Public Accountability

The NY Times reports this morning on the declining financial position of the MTA: "The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will propose a substantial increase in transit fares and bridge and tunnel tolls next year to help close a widening budget gap of nearly $900 million, according to an official at the authority." What this means to us is that the so-called public authority, slated under the Bloomberg congestion tax program to receive more revenue, needs to be fully reviewed with an eye towards completely overhauling its governing structure.

Apparently something approaching this is in the works: "The budget plan, which the authority is required to produce in July, puts new focus on a state commission created by Gov. David A. Paterson to recommend long-term solutions for the authority’s chronic financial difficulties. The panel, which is headed by Richard Ravitch, a former authority chairman, is to make a report by November. The authority must pass a new budget for next year in December."

Hopefully, we'll get some real reforms. A public authority insulated from public accountability is an anachronism in a democratic system. And New Yorkers need to have a transit system that is properly funded in a fair an equitable manner so that it is both economical and enticing to use. The current opacity needs to end-along with this unwieldy patronage mill.