A Little Housekeeping/MTA Bailout

I have been terribly busy the last few weeks, and haven’t had much time to write.  But while I’ve been out, I note that a number of… entities… have signed on as subscribers to this site.  The names and e-mails addresses seem strange: not strange enough to have been obviously generated by a computer, but not like people’s actual names.

I have to believe that it’s a new form of spam, although I can’t understand to what end: if someone writes a comment, I have to approve it before it appears on the site.  And so far, I haven’t received any comments.

In any case, I’ve deleted all of the subscribers that have signed on so far.  If you meant to be a subscriber, I’m sorry; you’ll have to go back and subscribe again.  But for those who would subscribe in the future: after you subscribe, you have one week to submit a cogent comment on one of the postings.  If I don’t see a comment (I don’t necessarily have to agree with it!), I’ll assume that you’re some kind of bot, and will delete your subscription.

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Last week, the state legislature passed a plan to help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  The plan will raise about $1.5 billion through a new payroll tax and  a surcharge on taxi rides.  As a result, the Draconian service cuts that were contemplated a few weeks ago will not come to pass, although there will be some cuts and a modest fare increase.

I should be relieved: while the fare increase is not a big deal for me, the service cuts are a problem, and part of my income as an engineering consultant is derived from the MTA’s capital spending.  But I don’t like it.

One again, the state has papered over the problem with taxing and spending, rather than addressing the real problems.  Why does operating the MTA cost what it does?  Can it work more efficiently?  Given that the operation of the MTA is vital to the economic health of the region and the state, why didn’t the state face the problem squarely in the first place, instead of coming up with half-measures later?  State spending increased by $11 billion this year: what did they spend it on?  And what happens next year, expecially if the economy is still sagging?

But the answers to those questions require thought….

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