EDITORIAL: The crumbling M.T.A.

Two reports released by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and City Comptroller Scott Stringer this week highlight the woeful conditions that straphangers who rely on subways and commuter rail lines can attest to daily.

And while it’s easy to see the neglect and incompetence, it seems much harder to find a way to fix the damage.

The city’s subway system and the LIRR are in a sorry state, according to two new reports. (File photo)

DiNapoli announced the results of a study that revealed something that seems obvious by now: Most New York City subway stations are crumbling.

The run-down components cited in the study range from from platform edges to ventilators, both of which are quite obviously key to rider safety.

Broken platform edges increase the risk of potentially tragic slips and falls, and malfunctioning ventilators are both short- and long-term health hazards for anyone who sets foot on an underground subway station platform. 

The second half of this one-two transit punch came from Stringer’s letter to Long Island Rail Road President Phil Eng, criticizing the commuter rail line for its own station problems, namely a lack of accessibility. 

For example, just five Long Island Rail Road stations in all of Brooklyn and Queens meet federal A.D.A. (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance. And yet, the LIRR has either dragged its feet on — or scrapped altogether — projects designed to bring the stops up to code.

The portrait of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 2019 as painted in the reports is far from flattering. 

Politicians have been quick to condemn the M.T.A. and promise reform and “transformation” to make everything better. We’ve heard this before, and the end result has always equated to reshuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. 

City and state leaders should streamline the authority’s overhead and empower it (financially and politically) with the means to get things done — and then, do them. 

We don’t need another Robert Moses — an all-powerful master builder who treated the public with contempt — but rather leaders who can at least get the M.T.A. and the riders it serves out of this mess.

Enough talking about it. Let’s get the M.T.A. moving toward progress again.