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MTA honcho: Why ride if it's not free?

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MTA honcho: Why ride if it's not free?

BY PETE DONOHUE

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

June 18th 2008

 

[float=right]amd_mack.jpg

Warga/News

David Mack[/float]In one of those believe-it-or-not moments, a top MTA honcho admitted Wednesday he wouldn't use authority trains if he couldn't ride for free, sources said.

 

"Why should I ride and inconvenience myself when I can ride in a car?" asked David Mack, vice chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, according to sources who overheard his comments at MTA headquarters.

 

The wealthy Long Island developer also suggested the MTA tosses complaints from the general public into the trash can - but takes corrective action when he calls with a gripe, observers said.

 

Mack's wacky rant took place between committee meetings Wednesday morning in the MTA's public meeting room.

 

Mack is chairman of two MTA committees: the LIRR committee, and the bridge and tunnel oversight panel.

 

As is his custom, Mack didn't return a reporter's telephone call seeking comment.

 

After an exclusive Daily News report on the number of free E-ZPass tags granted to past and present MTA board members, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office warned the authority the freebies are illegal - and told the MTA to halt the free-travel privileges.

 

The MTA plans to bring to the board next week a resolution changing its policy to give free travel only to current board members on official duty.

 

Some board members are opposed to giving up the perk and want MTA staff to ask a judge to interpret the law.

 

Mack - who was granted six no-charge E-ZPasses - claimed through a spokesman he put the passes on his credit card, vowing to pay his own way all the time.

 

But behind the scenes, he's been trying to get other board members to fight for the free travel passes, sources said.

 

"I don't get it," one board member said of Mack's campaign. "Nobody on the board needs it."

 

Several MTA board members are multi-millionaires who have made sizeable contributions to politicians like former Govs. George Pataki and Eliot Spitzer.

 

Benjamin Lawsky, special assistant to Cuomo, warned board members to rescind the perks.

 

"It is ironic that at a time when the MTA claims to be strapped for money, they can still afford free E-ZPasses and other privileges for board members who are not supposed to be paid," Lawsky said.

 

"Chairman [Dale] Hemmerdinger and Executive Director [Elliot] Sander have both indicated they now agree with the attorney general's position. If the board rejects its own leadership, we are prepared to enforce our position, because no one is above the law."

 

The attorney general could take legal action seeking that board members pay the authority for past travel.

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One word. HYPOCRITE. He wants other people to pay for mass transit and doesn't want to pay himself? NO.

 

But why should anyone who works for MTA have to pay? That should be a perk. So technically thats not being hypocritical. But it's not like anyone on the board uses them anywhere other than B&T anyway.

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Board members are not supposed to be paid. Giving freebies on B&T and subways and buses is equivalent to paying them. That's what I meant.

 

That's why (MTA) workers get those free passes. It's part of their pay, to get free mass transit. These board members are not supposed to be paid and should get no freebies. Besides, they have millions of dollars. How can it hurt?

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Ugh... where's the edit button? To complete that thought:

 

That's why (MTA) workers get those free passes. It's part of their pay, to get free mass transit. These board members are not supposed to be paid and should get no freebies. Besides, they have millions of dollars. How can it hurt?

 

Oh okay, I didn't know that.

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If I was on the board,I'd wan't free passes too...who wouldn't??I will say that they can't relate to the common man, so voting for fare hikes sucks but what else are they gonna do?? They are all on TA's side so they gotta play the game. I'd be just fine with the E-Z pass,keep everything else.:P

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What a jackass.

IMHO, all board members should be required to ride mass transit regularly AND pay for it out of pocket no matter what services are being rendered out of their fortunate/foul nature. Maybe Mr. Mack would feel a little differently about mass transit cuts if he were a rider, not a hater.

 

hp

 

I love the (Q)

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