There are a number of issues which were not addressed by members of the State Legislature who support a $11 billion dollar bill titled “Fix the MTA.” One proposal to ensuring subways and most buses arrive at least every six minutes, every day of the week has unforeseen consequences. This will result in the need to purchase more equipment to replace existing equipment sooner as it is used more frequently. This results in accumulating more mileage earlier than anticipated. They also need expand maintenance and storage capacity at existing bus depots and rail yards, staffing, maintenance, cost for fueling buses, along with powering commuter rail and subway trains while in transit service.

If you follow the logic of this proposal, it would also be ex- tended to those boarding NYC Transit and MTA Bus express buses from two fare zones known as “transit deserts.” Thousands of those riders will want equivalent increased services. Ditto for the 66,000 daily pre COVID-19 Staten Island Ferry and thousands more NYC Economic Development Corporations private ferry operators’ riders. They also will want to see significant increased services even if not every 6 minutes.

Those working on NYC Transit maintenance and capital improvement projects on and adjacent to tracks would have to stop and resume work every few minutes as subway trains pass active work zones. A significant portion of this work takes place between the morning and evening rush hours, evenings, overnight and all-day weekends. Running subway trains every six minutes will also add time needed to complete routine daily safety inspections and maintenance activities. Capital improvement projects will take longer to finish with additional incurred costs.

Is the inclusion of $600 million in the package to cover wage increases for MTA workers a political quid pro quo between elected officials such as State Senators Michael Gianaris, Jessica Ramos, John Liu and Kristen Gonzalez, Assembly members Zohran Mamdani, Alicia Hyndman Juan Ardila, Jessica González-Rojas, Robert Carroll and Tony Simone with the Transit Workers Union in exchange for continued endorsements, mailings, campaign contributions, volunteers to staff telephone banks and door to door canvassing get out the vote efforts?

Larry Penner
Former Director for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office of Operations and Program Management