Commuters rail for spot on MTA board
By Pete Donohue Daily News Staff Writer
Sunday, July 27th 2008
An MTA advisory panel has floated a novel idea to Gov. Paterson: Appoint regular rail riders to the board.
"There are quite a few [current board members] who don't ride mass transit on a regular basis," said Gerard Bringmann, chairman of the Long Island Rail Road Commuter's Council.
Bringmann said the group wants Paterson to appoint "someone who feels our pain and is in the trenches with us; someone who knows what it's like to be on a train without air conditioning or on a platform where messages are garbled or nonexistent."
The council, part of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, expressed its view in a letter to Paterson, who must fill a vacancy caused by the death of Frances Powers. The missive was prompted by recent comments by David Mack, chairman of the MTA's Long Island Rail Road committee, who said he rides the train a handful of times a year - and only because he doesn't have to pay.
MTA divisions are currently preparing their preliminary 2009 spending plans amid high fuel costs and declining tax revenues. The reports include how the various divisions will meet a prior directive to cut spending by 6% over four years, starting next year when savings must total about $80 million.