Testimony of Ryan Lynch
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board Meeting
April 27, 2011
Good morning. My name is Ryan Lynch, senior planner 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.
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.
Recent news reports from around the country concerning the potential operators of Nassau County’s bus system have only increased our wariness of the County’s privatization proposals. Tales of corruption, the failure of companies to abide by federal regulations, the conversion of qualified drivers to part-time employees and local subsidy contributions that far exceed what Nassau County currently proposes to pay private operators, are all red flags for Nassau County residents.
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.