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Kalikow & MTA cronies get passes for life - and YOU pay


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Kalikow & MTA cronies get passes for life - and YOU pay




Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, specially built for superwealthy Peter Kalikow (below), is one of many cars in former MTA chief’s collection, for which he uses multiple E-ZPass tags.


Smith for News

Nearly 60 past and present MTA board members - many of them millionaires many times over - get free, taxpayer-funded E-ZPass tags for life.


Not only are taxpayers footing the bill for tens of thousands of dollars in free rides, but many of the well-heeled honchos get tags for other cars they own - as many as eight for former Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Peter Kalikow.


The multimillionaire developer gets the multiple electronic tags so he doesn't have to switch them from car to car in his private fleet.


Kalikow has so many E-ZPass tags because he has alot of cars - "45 or 48" of them, he said, many vintage or custom-made, and each worth a small fortune.


And, get this, nobody thinks there's anything wrong with it.


"Everybody on the board serves for nothing," said Kalikow, who once owned the New York Post. "They do a lot of hard work and it's a way of saying thank you."


The former chairman isn't the only member of the MTA millionaires club who takes advantage of the freebie.


As of early May, 21 board members held 33 tags, and MTA records show 37 former board members have 62 passes.


Board Vice Chairman David Mack, a real estate magnate, has six of the special E-ZPass tags, which are orange, not white, like those on windshields of paying customers.


Fellow board Vice Chairman Andrew Saul, director of a national chain of apparel stores, has four tags, according to records provided by the MTA under the Freedom of Information Act.


Mack has 11 cars, his assistant said. Saul, as is his custom, didn't return a reporter's telephone call.


"When riders learn about these free all-you-can-drive passes, they become very skeptical about an MTA board that decides the cost of a MetroCard or how much subway service they get," said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign.


Board members, who vote on contracts and fare hikes and approve authority policies, aren't paid for the hours they spend on MTA affairs during or between monthly committee meetings.


Free travel for life is a token of appreciation, authority spokesman Jeremy Soffin said.


"Our board members are not compensated and this is one very small way to acknowledge their many hours of public service," he said.


Kalikow said the practice predated his tenure, which ended last year when former Gov. Eliot Spitzer appointed millionaire developer Dale Hemmerdinger to lead the panel.


Kalikow said he is the only one in his family who uses his tags.


"They're not on my wife's car or my kids' cars," he said. "I probably use them the least of anybody."


According to E-ZPass records, Hemmerdinger has two of the passes while nearly every other board member has one or two tags.


Nancy Shevell, the well-heeled executive at her father's trucking company who has been romantically linked to Paul McCartney, is the only board member who doesn't take advantage of the freebie.

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Free passes are okay for those who deserve them, and good for them. If I were given a free pass, then I'd take it for a year and give it back. B) I don't really need that anyway.

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