MTA Facing Criticism Over Plan To Add 500 Officers Amid Ballooning Debt

WCBS 880 Newsroom
December 08, 2019 - 5:14 pm
Subway police

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – More than 500 officers are set to be added to the MTA lineup, an idea that is facing both praise and criticism since the transit agency is under significant debt.

Gov. Cuomo and the MTA are backing the idea of adding the additional officers to MTA buses and trains, but Andrew Rein, president of the Citizens Budget Commission, disagrees.

“The MTA needs to figure this out, including with its labor unions, to increase productivity so that it can balance its budget, as well as public safety,” Rein said.

The MTA is in a financial deficit, and Rein says the agency should get that in order before considering spending more money on hiring the officers. He says the MTA should work more closely with its union in coming up with a solution, while keeping public safety and finances in mind.

“The most important thing is the productivity of the labor union, and they’ve inked a deal that has some of that, but they need to go much further in terms of labor productivity or they will not balance safety and their budget,” Rein said.

The MTA reports seeing its lowest felony rates in history and hopes to see that number drop as more officers are added.

But it's estimated that the new officers will cost the MTA $260 million over four years. The agency's deficit is already expected to near $1 billion by 2023.

“If the MTA cannot increase service stability, the riders will flee the system and it won’t have the money to run as it is,” Rein said.