Malliotakis, Gottheimer Call for Congressional Oversight & Investigation of MTA’s Mismanaged Spending
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) and Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) have formally called for a Congressional oversight hearing and an investigation into New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) mismanagement of federal dollars from both the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
The lawmakers believe taxpayers deserve answers, under oath, from the MTA regarding how $15 billion of COVID-19 relief taxpayer dollars were spent and why the MTA is hitting commuters with a new Congestion Tax that would charge drivers upwards of $23 per day to enter Manhattan south of 60th St.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) received $15 billion in relief funds from American taxpayers,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Chairman DeFazio & Chairman Clyburn. “Despite this bailout, the MTA appears to have already depleted those emergency dollars and is expected to hit a “fiscal cliff,” with a $2.5 billion deficit in 2025 and a $4.6 billion operating deficit by 2026, requiring further taxpayer bailouts. It is unclear where all of those billions of dollars went. This excessively bureaucratic and woefully mismanaged agency admitted it lost $119 million to fare evasion in just the first three months of 2022, heading toward $500 million for this year. To get to the bottom of how the MTA mismanaged its $15 billion bailout, we urge you to hold hearings, including directly with the CEO and Chair of the MTA, under oath, to investigate this unacceptable misuse of taxpayer dollars.”
The letter comes after Malliotakis and Gottheimer introduced legislation requiring the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct an audit on the use of federal funds by certain transit agencies. The lawmakers have also spearheaded a bipartisan effort to fight New York’s congestion tax, including the Economic Impact of Tolling Act, legislation that would prohibit the Secretary of Transportation from implementing congestion pricing until a thorough economic impact analysis is completed and publicized, along with two amendments that would ensure federal dollars aren’t used to implement congestion pricing unless certain criteria are met. They’ve also written to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) calling for a more thorough analysis of how congestion pricing will impact commuters, tourists, and businesses.
The lawmakers added: “The Authority is now proposing a Congestion Tax to help refill its depleted coffers, which would cost drivers up to $23 dollars a day — more than $5,000 a year. That’s on top of the already far-too-high $16-a-day tolls for our bridges and tunnels, not to mention parking and gas, just to drive south of 60th Street to work in New York City from Jersey. We urge both the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis to require testimony from the CEO and Chair of the MTA and demand answers, under oath, for how billions of COVID taxpayer dollars were squandered and why the MTA is hitting hardworking commuters with a new tax instead of getting its house in order. This billion-dollar-a-year Congestion Tax cash grab that won’t alleviate pollution or traffic is certainly not the answer to the MTA’s decades-long problems.”
The MTA’s Record of Mismanagement, Corruption, Violations, and Fraud:
- MTA manager pleaded guilty to obstructing an investigation into bid rigging and fraud.
- MTA manager was sentenced to forty-six months in prison for soliciting and accepting bribes from contractors.
- Office of the MTA Inspector General concluded investigations that found signal maintainers falsifying records, theft from passengers and the agency, procurement ethics violations, deficient maintenance, skipped inspections, and nepotistic hiring.
- Violations include employees crashing and abandoning a boat, sleeping on the job, procuring a charger for a personal Tesla vehicle, and vendors operating as in-house consultants.
- This year, the MTA’s highest-paid employee was sentenced for what the judge described as an “orgy of overtime fraud” as part of a ring that stole more than a million dollars from taxpayers.
To download a copy of the letter, click HERE
Banner Image: NYC subway station. Image Credit – Lerone Pieters