More controversy at the MTA! The vice chair of the transporation agency, David Mack—Long Island real estate magnate, demi-billionaire, brother of Bill Mack—plans to challenge the agency's decision to take away his perks, namely the six E-ZPass tags that allow him to avoid paying for tolls or paying for the bus, subway or LIRR. In related MTA news, just in case you think that overseeing New York's hot, smelly subway system must be a lousy job, well, not so much. It turns out MTA chief Elliot Sander makes $350K a year and he worked out a bonus, too, even though the agency is talking about fare increases and service reductions.
As for EZPass-gate, it seems Mack and the rest of the board is planning to challenge the decision to end the program:
The travel pass tempest began last month, when Attorney General Andrew Cuomo wrote to the authority, saying that its longstanding custom of giving free E-ZPasses to its board members — and letting them keep them for life — violated a state law that requires the board members to serve without compensation. In a meeting on May 28, the board vowed to fight Mr. Cuomo, saying it would ask a judge to decide whether the passes were a form of pay.
But the authority’s chairman, H. Dale Hemmerdinger, quickly reversed course, telephoning board members a day later to say that the E-ZPasses would be taken away from former members and that the 22 current members could use them only for official authority business, like traveling to a board meeting. He said that the same would be done with other free passes given to board members for travel on subways, buses and the commuter railroads.
But now Mack says he plans to fight for the free passes. Why? Because whereas if you complain to the authority about some minor problem—like, say, long toll lines—you'll be completely ignored. When he makes the call, it gets fixed stat! As for those free passes to ride the train, just how often does the real estate scion check in on the rail lines? "About 5 to 10 times a year." Does that factor in a margin of error of 5 to 10 times?