Secret MTA Reorganization Plan is Actually Quite Public, MTA Chair Says

Pat Foye address the media on Thursday morning. Photo: Dave Colon
Pat Foye address the media on Thursday morning. Photo: Dave Colon

What secret MTA reorganization plan?

The chairman of the MTA Board denied repeated claims by activists that the agency is conducting a sham public process regarding its soon-to-be-revealed internal shakeup, saying rather that the MTA has crafted a public, collaborative process that will include “public input” to make the MTA into a sleeker and better-functioning organization.

“It’s not being done in secret,” Chairman Pat Foye said at a MTA briefing Thursday when asked about a consultant’s ongoing reorganization effort that critics have panned as happening behind closed doors. “The plan will be publicly available before the board votes on it. The board’s consideration at the July meeting is the first step. There’ll be an additional report that [consultant] AlixPartners will issue around the end of August and then the final report, which will incorporate public comments from advocates and riders, is due by the end of October. This is the first step in a process that will play out in public.”

Foye also said he had ordered AlixPartners to meet with the very transit advocates who have been complaining about the process. That meeting did happen, but multiple attendees told Streetsblog that they aren’t convinced that their concerns were taken seriously.

And that behind-closed-door meeting revealed the need for more public input, advocates said.

“I don’t consider the outreach so far to be responsive to our coalition’s request for transparency and consultation,” said Ben Fried of TransitCenter, adding that he would prefer real public process in the form of, say, a hearing, before the board votes in July. “There’s still time for the MTA to get this right, and that starts with publicly releasing the AlixPartners recommendations ASAP.”

The saga began earlier this year, when Gov. Cuomo demanded a reorganization plan for the MTA — an indication that he had, at least, accepted his control over the multi-county transit octopus. No one besides MTA insiders like Foye have seen the preliminary report, but Cuomo’s need for control could have collateral damage: there are rumors that he will sideline New York City Transit President Andy Byford by cutting his division into two parts: subways and buses. There’s also talk that Byford’s NYC Transit will lose the power to oversee major subway construction projects, such as his ambitious Fast Forward plan, in a shift to the MTA’s Capital Construction division.

Transparency hawks are on guard.

“[What matters] is to what extent have decisions already been made in the MTA board adopting the ‘draft’ plan at their meeting in July,” Reinvent Albany Senior Analyst Rachael Fauss told Streetsblog. “The law says they have to adopt the transformation plan by the end of July, and then they have to amend it” after the public has had some input.

As Fauss pointed out, though, the amendment process could very well come down to just tinkering around the edges of rumored major changes, such as separating NYCT into two systems or changing the capital construction financing oversight.

“Even if [the plan] will be amended, what’s adopted first is going to be the baseline,” Fauss said.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Anyone who has attended a track access meeting knows having a different organization be responsible for operating the system and rebuilding it would be a mistake. It would repeat the track access situation that has stalled East Side Access.

    Something has to be done to stop operating expenses from being shifted to the capital budget, and borrowed for. But does anyone believe that any politician in this generation of leadership would do that? Foyle? Please. If the metro area doesn’t collapse into the see taking everyone left behind to their grave the day after he retires to Florida, it could be argued that he screwed up by leaving money on the table.

  • Teofila

    It is conceivable to easily exit yr ordinary 9 am to 5 pm job and begin with earning check per month around 12000$ working at home. Let’s be real, no matter where you’re working from, you’re still doing exactly that: working. While working at home you got Extremely flexible daily schedule – you can take breaks any moment, feel no rush to hang up on your mates while they call, and have meal at any odd time you wish, Stop thinking about crowds or traffic – No stuffing yourself into a rickety transportation tube, having people scuff your new shoes, or walking behind agonizingly slow people who apparently don’t know what a straight line is, More time with loved ones -Take care of a sick significant other at your home, get ready for your children earlier in the day, get some extra snuggles in with your doggo, or simply have some relaxing time to your-self! Try it out, what it is about…

  • Great info for MTA secret reorganization plan – GHD SPORTS

  • Andrew

    The “preliminary report” is now public:

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’ll read it looking for one thing.

    What do they say about the fact that after five years all of the future congestion pricing revenues will be bonded against and thus be spent, and all the other funding sources added for the MTA over the years have already been bonded against and thus spent?

    Will I be disappointed?

    How we got in this mess should be the subject of 50 pages with lots of numbers.

    I fear the rest will likely be a buzzword bingo consultantspeak report worth of Dilbert. NYC public agencies continue to hire consultants to tell them things they already know, or ought to know.


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