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PCAC Testimony – July 24, 2019 – MTA Transformation without the Facts

Full Testimony: 7.24.19 MTA transformation without facts

Statement by Sheila Binesh, PCAC Transportation Planner

A Transformation Plan Not Based on Facts

At the MTA Board Meeting

MTA Headquarters, 2 Broadway, New York, NY 10004

July 24, 2019

Hello, I am Sheila Binesh, Transportation Planner at the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC). Late last week AlixPartners’ MTA Transformation Plan was released, filled with a vague combination of buzzwords, along with a lengthy disclaimer. While several of the recommendations are worthwhile, the report fails to delve into the crux of the problem of how to address the constraints, complexities, and roadblocks to true transformation.

It was disheartening reading through the disclaimer that the plan “is speculative and included estimates and assumptions which may prove to be wrong.” A $4 million-dollar plan based on assumptions and not on verified facts is worrisome, as the report relied on data that widely varied “in accuracy and completeness.” With a weak basis, the plan fails to identify some key resources, such as “performance parameters”, “AlixPartners reference metrics”, and “3rd party benchmarks.

These are crucial in understanding the validity and applicability of the plan to the MTA. As some recommendations seem on the surface helpful, how implementable are they? It is worth delving into the efforts that have been effective, like Save Safe Seconds, and which ones haven’t. How have the past consolidations affected performance? Understanding these factors are necessary for a realistic and successful reorganization plan.

Most importantly the plan does not look at any international best practices and lessons learned from other transit agencies, which would help ground the recommendations. The Construction and Development recommendations were based on an MTA Board Working Group’s Cost Containment Plan, which has merit, but has yet to be analyzed for actual cost savings.

$4 million dollars for a PowerPoint without a “verification” of the facts is a disservice to riders. Riders want a reorganization plan with assurances that it will work, not one built to fail. They also want to be able to provide meaningful input and we urge you to include a 45-day public comment period. Thank you.