The Real Problem with the MTA

The Story

Following reports that Long Island Rail Road workers have abused overtime rules—in some cases getting paid for “working” hundreds of consecutive 16-hour days—commuters have demanded action. Governor Cuomo has insisted that the MTA board get serious about fighting corruption, but Cuomo has enabled the MTA’s culture of corruption and featherbedding. True reform is needed to fix contracts and work rules across the system.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Care: Guaranteed health care for retired workers—which can start well before Medicare eligibility kicks in—makes up a substantial and rapidly growing portion of the MTA budget. Read more.

  2. Overtime: Overtime rules favor workers with the most seniority, and railroad unions are determined to protect this perk. Read more.

  3. Board: The MTA board is technically not under Governor Cuomo’s direct control, though he fires board members who show independence. Read more.

“Fixing the deeper problem means taking away pay and benefits that railroad workers don’t consider fraud or abuse, but an entitlement that comes with the job.”

Nicole Gelinas, Manhattan Institute senior fellow

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Transit for Tomorrow By Nicole Gelinas (City Journal 2009)

“The MTA’s labor costs are crowding out money for a twenty-first-century system.”

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