Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb Calls For MTA Audit

Says MTA should show good faith to New York taxpayers by opening its books to an independent review
May 22, 2009

In response to growing concerns from taxpayers and state policymakers over the need for greater accountability and transparency at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua) today called for a comprehensive audit of the MTA to ensure it utilizes public monies in the most efficient manner possible.

“At a time when our state is facing unprecedented fiscal challenges, and its citizens are making real sacrifices in their daily lives, we have a duty and an obligation to ensure that the MTA is making the most efficient use of public funding,” Kolb said.

“It was just a few weeks ago that the state Legislature closed the MTA’s operating deficit to the tune of $1.77 billion by raising taxes on businesses and increasing fares on riders. Our Conference believes that a detailed audit should have been conducted well before tax and fare hikes were considered, let alone enacted,” Kolb stated.

Several Members of the Assembly Minority Conference have also publicly called for an MTA audit, including Assemblyman Greg Ball (R,C,I-Patterson); Assemblyman Marc Molinaro (R,C,I-Red Hook); Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun (R,C-Blooming Grove); Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R,I,C-Greenwood Lake); Assemblyman Joel M. Miller (R,C,I-Poughkeepsie); and Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R,C,I-Schoharie).

“Legitimate questions are being asked about whether the necessary types of internal controls are in place at the MTA to ensure it operates in the best interests of all stakeholders. An independent, non-partisan audit would shine the light of full disclosure on the MTA. In so doing, it would raise public confidence and illustrate areas within the Authority needing improvement. The initiative both houses passed to help the MTA meet its obligations empowers the Legislature to conduct exactly such an audit,” Kolb said, referring to Assembly Bill A.8180.

Additional Minority Conference Members representing areas serviced by the MTA and demanding greater accountability from the Authority include Assemblyman Thomas Alfano (R,C,I,WF, 21st District); Assemblyman Jim Conte (R,I,C,WF-Huntington Station); Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (R,I,C,WF-Sag Harbor); Assemblyman Robert D. Barra (R,C,I-14th District); Assemblyman Phil Boyle (R,I,C-Bay Shore); Assemblyman Joseph S. Saladino; Assemblyman Rob Walker (R,C,I,WF-Hicksville); Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,I,C-East Northport); Assemblyman David G. McDonough (R,C,I-Merrick); Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown); and Assemblyman Tom McKevitt (R,C,I-East Meadow), all of Long Island, and Assemblyman Lou Tobacco (R,C,I-Staten Island) of Staten Island.

“It is my hope the MTA Board of Directors would recognize that a comprehensive audit is actually in the Authority’s best long-term interests and offer their full, public support for such an independent review,” Kolb concluded.