Ramos Demands Governor Stop Picking the Pockets of Thousands of LIRR Riders

Judge’s ruling shows need for reform, accountability at MTA
May 16, 2003

Assemblyman Philip Ramos (D-Brentwood) urged the governor’s hand-picked Metropolitan Transit Authority board today to stop the legal wrangling and roll back the fare increases that a judge ruled were inappropriately put in place.

“I participated in a public hearing where Comptroller Alan Hevesi testified regarding the Enron-type ‘accounting’ practices used by the MTA,” Ramos said. “I am calling for the immediate reduction of fares for the hundreds of thousands of daily LIRR riders.”

Yesterday, state Supreme Court Justice Louis York ruled that the MTA had inappropriately failed to disclose a $500 million surplus that it kept in separate books, a disturbing fact uncovered by the state and city comptrollers. As a result, the judge said the MTA hadn’t met the public disclosure requirements needed in order to raise fares. The decision was stayed after the MTA filed an appeal, forcing commuters to continue paying higher fares indefinitely.

“Between his wrong budget choices, his veto of the Legislature’s bipartisan accord, and now his legal maneuvers, the governor keeps trying to take money out of the pockets of working families,” Ramos said. “New Yorkers have had enough. It’s time for the governor to show some leadership and put an end to these misguided fare hikes once and for all.”