To the Editor: Out of town MTA and New York City Transit Presidents always come and go. “Cuomo’s Win, Our Loss” (Editorial) and “Byford’s Departure as ‘Transit’ Head Is Lamented by Most Officials” (Bob Hennelly—Jan. 31 issue).
Give Governor Cuomo, who enjoys micromanaging the MTA, NYC Transit, LIRR & Metro North credit for his departure. Just how much could anyone put up with Cuomo’s interference?
Cuomo seldom, if ever, travels to and from Albany via Amtrak. When in NYC, he travels around town by car with driver and police security detail rather than a bus or subway. Unlike millions of New Yorkers, he doesn’t own a Metro Card or use public transportation on a daily basis. His motto is do as I say, not as I do.
Cuomo continues to portray himself as the second coming of President Franklin Roosevelt and Master Builder Robert Moses. He is not an engineer, businessperson, transportation expert or daily commuter. He has never built a business from scratch or created a significant number of good-paying jobs on his own. Cuomo does excel at photo ops holding a shovel at ground-breaking ceremonies.
He does the same when walking along MTA subway or commuter train tracks without wearing either a safety vest or hardhat as required by Federal Rail Road Administration. I doubt he has, if ever, taken and passed the standard FRA safety-training course like MTA employees. If Cuomo believes he could have done a better job than Byford, there is a simple solution. In his last act, appoint himself NYC Transit President and resign as Governor.
It will continue to be disappointing for MTA employees, along with riders, advocates, taxpayers and other funding-agency partners, if the MTA continues this pattern of bringing in out-of-town talent that comes and goes. There are many experienced internal MTA candidates who are qualified to fill the vacancy of NYC Transit President. Any successful organization grooms, trains and promotes from within.
Mr. Penner is a transportation historian, advocate and writer who previously worked 31 years for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office.
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