New York

MTA Meets the People, Before Deciding on New Reasons to Hate Them.


You think your morning commute sucked? Imagine taking the subway to go talk to the MTA this morning.

Yup. Right now, as you read this, some New Yorkers who either

A) don’t have anything better to do,
B) are responsible, politically involved citizens,
C) are those cockeyed crazies who attend masochist public gatherings like this for fun,
or D) hate the MTA more that your or I could ever imagine

have bravely made their way to midtown Manhattan this morning to talk to the MTA about their proposed cuts. They include:

  • The elimination of the W line
  • The elimination of the V line
  • The elimination of 20 bus lines
  • Multiple bus line route cuts
  • The M will be merged with the V, but M service gets cut in lower Manhattan.


  • A proposal to cut student fares will be held off until the summer.
  • Q service will be extended to Astoria to make up for the death of the W.

The meeting is being broadcast live on NY1 right now. A relatively sane looking man just stepped up to the podium and noted: “A board member just referred to the ‘cash-strapped MTA.’ Does this board look cash-strapped to you?” This reflects plenty of the ire toward the MTA, who noted that the proposed cuts you see above are actually scaled back versions of the original cuts, the new versions now costing the MTA $8M in savings. But is blaming the executive board of the MTA for their salaries a red herring argument against their crying poor?

Actually, somewhat.

MTA chief Elliot Sander made $290,260 in 2008.
MTA’s President of Bridges and Tunnels, Susan L. Kupferman, made $259,172 in 2008.

More? Always. In 2008, the following board members made the following cash from the MTA:

Howard R. Permut: $245,567
Joseph Smith: $256,619
Helena E. Williams: $285,711
Sebastian L. Desimone: $227,441
Peter A. Cannito: $226,134
Raymond P. Kenny: $235, 317
Gary J. Dellaverson: $217,243
George F. Walker :$212,189
Albert C Cosenza: $224,403

And those are just the names of the top eleven ranking members of the MTA board. There’re more here.

In 2008, without factoring in 401K’s, insurance, or vacation time, those eleven members made $2,680,056. A 20 percent reduction in salary for these top eleven earners alone would produce $536,011.

There are 2,372 entries in that database of people making at least $125K from the MTA. A $2,500 salary cut for those people would produce $5.9M for the MTA. There are 654 people making at least $150K from the MTA. A $10,000 salary cut for all those members could produce $6.5M.

So the answer is, yes. The salaries of the MTA board members could be hedged to supplant a significant portion of the MTA’s budget. Of course, there are people standing in the way of cuts like this happening — like the Transportation Workers Union president John Samuelsen, who also makes over $220K/year — but if they were to bend to the will of the people who employ them, and share the brunt of the cost with them, we could live the harmonious, hardworking, utilitarian city New York has always aspired to be.

And honestly? The ‘fuck that’ll happen.

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