Note to MTA board members: Think before you speak! Maybe even pre-think before you think! MTA Board Vice Chairman David Mack has learned this lesson, maybe, after his controversial, elitist remarks explaining why he would fight for unrestricted free E-Z pass usage, "Why should I ride [the train] and inconvenience myself when I can ride in a car?"
Background: Attorney General Andrew Cuomo questioned the MTA's decision to give E-Z passes to former and current board members, to be used whenever they like (some members even had multiple passes, some recipients were dead). After initial opposition, MTA Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger agreed to revise its policies to only give current board members E-Z passes for official use (like coming into the city for a meeting).
Back to yesterday: After Mack's remarks were widely reported, Cuomo threatened to sue in order to recoup the money spent on MTA's E-Z riding and Governor David Paterson said Mack's words "demonstrate an utter contempt for average New Yorkers." Suitably chastened, Mack released a statement saying:
"I regret that my comments yesterday did not reflect my commitment to the MTA and the work it does to provide the best public transportation system in the United States.
"My colleagues on the board are dedicated to keeping fares low, services efficient and continue to look for ways to make improvements to the system. I am proud to serve on this board, and I support Chairman Hemmerdinger and his policies.
"I plan to vote next week in support of changing our policies so that free passes for our transportation systems are used only by current board members, who are on official MTA business."
The MTA Board will be voting on restricting E-Z passes next week.