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PCAC Testimony – August 16, 2019 – Dialogue Must Happen with MTA Stakeholders

Good morning, I am Lisa Daglian PCAC Executive Director. Today, I will be speaking about transparency. The AlixPartners report recommends meeting with stakeholders as an immediate next step. We couldn’t agree more – and thank MTA leadership for meeting with us yesterday. We look forward to continuing the dialogue and the opportunity to provide insight and input.

We can’t think of anyone with a bigger stake in the future of the MTA than its riders. We urge you to provide the public with a 45-day comment period, with informational forums around the region in advance of the October 15th release of the implementation plan. The riding public needs to understand the plan’s importance and have questions asked and answered. If you cannot accommodate live forums – and again we offer our support and assistance –hold a series of virtual town halls with an opportunity for Q&A. We urge the same for the tens of thousands of MTA employees, who are understandably unsettled and, frankly, scared.

We also urge public forums around the upcoming capital plan. We were distressed that AlixPartners saw the plan before most Board members. We understand it is due for a vote in September and submission to CPRB by October 1st, but that leaves no opportunity for public review or input. It will essentially be a done deal for an up or down vote before behind-the-scenes machinations begin. Riders have a right to know what they can expect from Congestion Pricing money and what the MTA’s priorities are. They have the right to help set the priorities that support the region’s economic and societal growth. The Alix report highlighted the tremendous cost of delaying the last plan. At a time where every dollar counts, it must be on-time and reflect riders’ priorities and needs.

We beseech you for transparency and public discourse. Our transit system is the lifeblood of the region. An agency that is hemorrhaging money for controllable costs cannot stick with the status quo – we know that innovative transformation will be key to keeping the improvements we’ve begun to see on track. Riders – and MTA staff – want to be part of the solution.

Thank you!

Full statement: 8.16.19 Special Board Meeting Alix