Testimony of Vincent Pellecchia
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Finance Committee Meeting

April 21, 2011

Good morning. My name is Vincent Pellecchia, general counsel of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a regional policy watchdog organization working for better transit and transportation policy in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

While we are thankful that the New York State Senate has given Long Island Bus and Able-Ride users and workers a reprieve in 2011 with $8.6 million in funding, we urge the MTA to postpone action on Long Island Bus’ operating and lease agreement today and at the full April board meeting.

While Nassau County has gotten a bargain basement deal from the MTA over the years, a deal that no other suburban county enjoys, we believe ceasing the agreement at this time is short-sighted. The MTA needs only sixty days notice to end its relationship with Nassau County and ending this agreement now would be particularly premature given the lack of information available to the public about the County’s plans to privatize Long Island Bus. Nassau County has not selected a vendor, detailed likely level of service or fare rates, outlined the cost to Nassau County residents for providing this service, nor explained environmental and economic impacts of its privatization proposal.

County Executive Mangano needs to get serious about the transportation crisis facing his constituents and come back to the table and work out a fair deal with the MTA. At the same time, the MTA should stand up for riders and not take action on Long Island Bus’ operating agreement until more is known about the County’s plans.