You want policy? Carl Paladino’s got policy. How about abolishing the MTA?
That was the proposal aired yesterday by the Republican gubernatorial candidate. At first, it seemed like just another piece of his “Mad as Hell” shtick. But the way he tells it to the Daily News, the guy’s got a point:
“The MTA is horribly mismanaged and it’s a sinkhole of money,” Paladino said. “It’s among the least transparent entities in the world and was even found to have kept two separate sets of books. New Yorkers are paying more each year and getting less in service,” he added.
He accused elected officials who appoint members to the public authority of insulating themselves from decisions on rate hikes and cutbacks. “Mayors, governors and legislators want to be able to rail against the MTA, but they really want to be insulated against the decisions that they make so the voters can’t blame them for increasing fares and services cuts.”
But here’s the catch. Mr. Paladino wants to to turn the hydra-like agency, with its multiple masters and impossible budget, into a ward of the state that would be responsible to him and, nominally, to the legislature.
This would be bad enough, given the general dysfunction in Albany. But considering the legislature’s indifference, even animosity, to the agency — it has become a piggy bank to be raided of late — and the proposal begins to sound disastrous.
And yet Mayor Bloomberg told DNA Info he was open to the idea.
Never mind that, under Jay Walder, the agency seems finally back on the right track. Even with all the draconian cuts and fare hikes underway, there’s little Mr. Walder can do to satisfy his many masters. Yet he has already shown an ability to make hard decisions and eliminate waste from the unwieldy agency. If he can keep that up –without any undue political interference — perhaps the MTA will finally earn the respect it deserves and New York will have the 21st — or at the very least 20th — century system it deserves.