Brooklyn Boro

City Council candidate Steve Saperstein calls for city-run transit system

June 21, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
City Council candidate Steve Saperstein wants a city-run transit system. Photo courtesy of Steve Saperstein

Says MTA Cannot Solve Transit Problems and Must Be Replaced

Republican City Council candidate Steve Saperstein has called for New York City to assert its control over the subways and institute a governing board that will be led by and responsive to citizens and subways riders. 

The transit system has been plagued by a series of construction delays, service disruptions and overcrowded cars that have left riders frustrated, tired and seeking alternative means of transportation. 

“Enough is enough,” said Saperstein, a candidate in Brooklyn’s 48th Council District (Sheepshead Bay-Brighton Beach-Manhattan Beach-Marine Park, Midwood). “The MTA has repeatedly demonstrated its inability to provide acceptable subway service. It’s time to go in a new direction.”

Saperstein called for other specific reforms, including requiring the proposed new city-run transit agency to hold all board meetings on weekday evenings, so working men and women can attend and voice their concerns, as well as direct public election of the agency’s membership. Currently, MTA board members are appointed by other elected officials, including the governor and mayor.

In fact, Saperstein, who is challenging incumbent Chaim Deutch for the City Council seat, has joined a list of elected officials and City Council candidates calling for a reform of the transit system. Justin Brannan, a Democratic City Council candidate from District 43 (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst), recently called for a city takeover of the MTA system, as did Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The difference is that Saperstein does not want de Blasio in charge of the system. “Subways are the life blood of New York,” Saperstein added, “The MTA has allowed them to grow sclerotic. Time to flush out the system and try something new.

“I absolutely do not trust de Blasio to run the subways,” Saperstein told the Brooklyn Eagle. “I’d prefer a citizen-elected agency. We need a directly elected transit board that will be personally accountable to the public. The current system as it stands insulates the transit board from the public scrutiny when they screw up. If the transit agency was directly elected by the public they would be much more responsible and responsive to specific needs.” 

Saperstein has specific ideas for the citizen led system. “Whatever the entity it is — they should hold their meetings on weeknights, so real subway riders can attend. Right now, these suits hold meetings at 2 p.m.‬ in Midtown without accountability.”

“Finally,” Saperstein added, “instead of the current electeds who seek battles with President [Donald] Trump for their own political purposes and gain, I will open up lines of communication to secure federal infrastructure monies.”