Jan. 9, 2020 By Kristen Torres
Council Member Costa Constantinides is calling for major reform to the MTA board that would give each borough president a voting appointee on the decision-making body that oversees city transit.
The current MTA board structure consists of 16 voting members, eight of which are nominated by the governor. New York City has four members recommended by the mayor, while the other four spots are filled by appointees from surrounding counties.
“Too often, high-level MTA decisions that significantly impact Queens residents are made by people who don’t live, work, and commute in the borough,” said Constantinides in a statement Thursday.
The city’s five borough presidents, who act as county executives, currently have no voting powers on the board, which carries out substantial decisions regarding fare increases, transit budgets and strategic planning. Any changes to the board’s structure, however, would require state legislative action.
“An MTA board member appointed by the Borough President, empowered with a full vote, can bring a new perspective to issues facing commuters on a daily basis,” Constantinides said.
Council Member Constantinides pointed to the recent MTA Queens Bus Network Redesign draft plan as an example of the kind of decision making that results from a board with little to no community representation.
The proposal, which was released Dec. 31, removes bus service going eastbound on Roosevelt Avenue between the 74th Street/Roosevelt Avenue subway station and 83rd Street.
“Although the agency has proposed a once-in-a-century review of the entire borough’s bus network…residents in Jackson Heights… would face longer commute times under the proposal,” Constantinides said.