Ever wondered where all the money from those MTA fare hikes is going? Consider this latest Boondoggle.
As The Post reported last week, the agency paid out money 5 million dollars last year to pay the staff (in overtime!) and just walking around a Brooklyn bus depot looking for flames – because the sprinkler system was no longer up to the task.
The patrols run 24 hours a day, with workers paid $60 an hour in three shifts of up to ten calls each.
Was it really that difficult for the agency to find a more cost-effective solution to the problem?
Yes, we know: the pipes are old and leaking.
They constantly fail pressure tests and will likely have to be ripped out, a project that could cost far more than patrols.
And regulations dictate that unless a sprinkler system is in place, qualified personnel must patrol the premises 24 hours a day for safety reasons.
Bla bla bla.
But why, whenever MTA projects involve huge expenses, is there always a whole bunch of excuses to explain it?
Who allowed the pipes to get old and leak without even having a plan (and funding) to replace them? Did MTA executives think these pipes would last forever?
And stick to the rules Really Need 10 workers per shift around the clock, each of whom must be paid such exorbitant sums for seemingly simple work?
If so, are these rules really necessary?
Did the agency have no choice but to agree to them?
A few years ago, the New York Times discovered that the MTA was paying seven times what other cities would pay for each mile of the new Long Island Rail Road tunnel leading to Grand Central.
An accountant later discovered that there were 200 workers working on this project who had absolutely no reason to be there.
It’s a culture of waste and excuses.
Working overtime: A report from the Empire Center last month showed that agency payouts hit $1.3 billion last year – with aB, raise a staggering $200 million in 2021.
More than 1,100 MTA employees doubled pay their salaries through OT.
But understand this: In a contract deal earlier this year with Transport Workers Union Local 100, the agency agreed to a 10% pay rise over three years — with no concessions to labor rules. It’s stunning.
To his credit, Rich Davey, head of NYC Transit, admits to being unhappy with the situation at the bus depot: “We’d rather have a working fire suppression system than have to pay for a 24-hour fire station.”
And he’s working to fix the problem, saying a new, state-of-the-art system will be up and running “within weeks.”
“I’m very involved and I’m keeping a close eye on it because it’s costing us money,” he added.
good for him Meanwhile, New York taxpayers are responsible for that money.
Bus and subway fares are set to increase by about 5.5% to $2.90 on Aug. 20.
There are tolls for bridges and tunnels already shot up.
And the agency is also preparing to rake in millions in revenue from congestion charges.
New Yorkers know the city is expensive and are willing to spend when it’s money well spent.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case with the MTA.