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MTA Capital Program Committee Meeting Testimony-“Hitting Accessibility Out Of the Park”

Good afternoon, I am Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC.

Today’s committee book focuses primarily on accessibility projects, something we’re always glad to see in abundance. This work is crucial to ensuring that everyone will be able to access the transit system by 2055, if not sooner, and addressing longstanding inequities. We’re excited about the public-private-partnership contract that was announced in November and hope it can serve as a model to save time and money in the long run. The inclusion of maintenance in many of the contracts is important to keeping these critical mobility mechanisms moving, and assign responsibility for repair.

Unfortunately, that abundance is also matched with unanticipated delays – happily, not with attendant cost overruns, and we’re glad to see some with even lower-than-anticipated costs. Some of the delays are borne out of addressing changes in state regulations, and others are being addressed with increases in shifts and staffing by the contractors. What is particularly telling, however, is that “…the Stations Team continues to face resourcing challenges to maintain delivery on this large volume of planned and active construction projects.” Please, do what you must to address these challenges so that those challenged by not being able to use transit have a better chance to do so sooner. Getting the projects over the plate quickly will be key to successfully getting more riders back on board – including getting some on board for the first time.

Speaking of getting things over the plate: Spring Training is just days away! Before you know it, Mets fans will be flocking to see their (my) favorite team with hope in our hearts. We continue to hope for making the Mets-Willets Point stations accessible, and that team owner Steve Cohen understands the importance of bringing all fans out to the ballgame, and not just those who can climb up and down stairs. We remain committed to working with you to find solutions to construction challenges and identify funding opportunities – ideally based on a UBS/Elmont-style model with 90% private funds– and appreciate that you are earnestly looking into accessibility improvements at the stations. It’s time we all play ball and hit this one out of the park. Thank you.