Jay Walder took over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the harshest economic times most people alive now have ever known.
It has been a tough time for the nation’s largest transit agency. The MTA relies in part on real estate tax, and one hit to the agency had come from the crash of the housing market.
So Walder, who announced last week he would leave, cut expenses. He consolidated some functions — 117 phone lines for customers were combined into three, as one example — and renegotiated agreements with contractors. But the cuts also meant some service reductions, and the elimination of 3,500 positions in an agency that had a staff of about 70,000.
The MTA calculates that his changes, collectively called “Making Every Dollar Count,” will save $3.8 billion through 2014.
Metro-North Railroad, an MTA division, lost some train runs, but it could have been worse…
State Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, a vocal critic of the payroll tax, continues his fight to end it. Ball believes the Legislature will enact a law to rescind the tax.
“I would bet on it getting done next year,” he said. He would like to see it completely nixed immediately, but realizes that is “not politically feasible.” So he now is looking for it to be phased out. (READ MORE)