Following the release of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) “Blue Ribbon Panel” 29 safety improvement recommendations, County Legislator Sue Serino (R,C,I- Hyde Park) is calling for the agency to take immediate action to adopt the proposed safety improvements. In their report, the panel concluded that on-time performance has always been the key measure of Metro-North’s improvement since the MTA takeover in 1983, which has led to tension between maintenance and operations divisions.
“The safety and security of Metro-North’s riding public should always be the top priority for the crew and management of the MTA,” said Serino. “As the second largest commuter railroad in the nation, with a quarter of a million people estimated riding the rails each week, it should be paramount that all necessary safety steps and procedures are evaluated and implemented to ensure commuters arrive home safely to their families each day. Thousands of Dutchess and Putnam residents rely on the train each day to take them to work, to see family or on a weekend outing; our residents are truly the backbone of the system. I urge MTA Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti to quickly adopt all the panel’s recommendations and I urge the state to provide the full resources necessary.”
Serino also lamented that the MTA Payroll Tax was imposed on Hudson Valley residents and businesses but not used to improve safety. “Dutchess and Putnam residents and businesses of all sizes were hit hard when Senate Democrats implemented the MTA payroll tax in 2009. Unfortunately, instead of putting the brakes on their exorbitant spending Terry Gipson actually voted to extend the MTA payroll tax and feed the irresponsible and poorly managed authority. The fact that this increase in cost for our residents hasn't been used to improve the safety and performance of Metro-North is shameful. Our residents need to know there will be safe and reliable service available for them that won’t break the backs of local businesses and families,” she concluded.