By Eden Laikin
With the Metropolitan Transit Authority today officially ending its operation of Long Island Bus, effective Dec. 31, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano pledged to make sure the system’s riders are not left without transportation.
“It’s a sad day in America when a government agency such as the MTA chooses to maintain its bloated bureaucracy over the services it is charged with providing to its residents,” County Executive Mangano said. “Because the MTA has failed taxpayers time and time again, Nassau County will move forward with a public-private partnership that maintains bus service without demanding an additional $26 million from taxpayers. My actions stop the MTA from further subsidizing NYC’s transportation system with Nassau tax dollars. The MTA’s monopoly over transportation in Nassau County ends now.”
The MTA has operated the LI Bus system for nearly 40 years and this year demanded an extra $26 million from Nassau County to subsidize it.
According to published reports, and in accordance with its enabling legislation, the MTA is expected to be financially self-sustaining, and generate enough fare and other revenues to cover its expenses. However, in recent years, the MTA has consistently operated at a financial deficit.
State audits in recent years have shown multiple examples of fiscal mismanagement on the part of MTA officials, resulting in what Mangano describes as the Authority’s failure to continue providing its services.
For example, state auditors estimate that if unnecessary overtime by MTA employees was eliminated, the MTA could save more than $56 million a year in overtime costs.
And an audit in September 2010 found that the MTA failed to use cheaper alternative fuel that could have saved $39 million.
The MTA, which has run LI Bus under a lease agreement since 1973, last year said it would no longer make up for the funding shortfalls of Nassau which this year contributed $9.1 million to the system’s $140 million contract.