The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will resume full in-person monthly meetings, including its long-awaited committee meetings, at its Lower Manhattan headquarters later this month for the first time since February 2020, after Governor Andrew Cuomo lifted pandemic restrictions last month.
“With Governor Cuomo lifting COVID restrictions, the time has come for the MTA to resume separate, in-person meetings of the MTA Board’s committees,” said MTA chairman and chief executive officer Pat Foye on Sunday, July 11. “This will restore the MTA to its usual transparency procedures while we continue to ensure participant safety.”
MTA pivoted to all-virtual joint full board and committee meetings once a month in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, limiting public comment to pre-recorded messages which had to be submitted via Zoom two days beforehand.
The agency allowed board members and the press to return in-person to a “hybrid” meeting in June, but the public was still limited to the virtual format.
Good government advocates and some of the MTA’s 21 board members have for months been calling on officials to bring back the committee meetings, which allow better oversight of the many arms of the massive authority, such as New York City Transit (for subway and buses), Bridges and Tunnels, as well as MTA’s financials and capital programs.
“It’s great news that committee meetings are coming back to MTA’s monthly meetings,” said Lisa Daglian, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee, a group advocating for on behalf of riders. “It gives riders an opportunity to learn more about what’s happening every day and month. It provides more transparency.”
The committee meetings prior to the full get-together will allow board members and the public to dig deeper into issues facing the agency as the city re-emerges from COVID-19 as ridership still hovers around just under half of pre-pandemic numbers, such as how to institute congestion pricing in Manhattan, fare increases, the recent flooding of subway stations uptown, and staff shortages.
“All of a sudden it’s going to be the fall, the riders will be back, and the demands on the system will be extraordinary and we should be using these last few days as effectively we can,” said MTA board member Bob Linn.
Board committee chairs will hold several meetings on Monday, July 19, including for the commuter trains Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, NYCT, Bridges and Tunnels, Finance, Capital Program Oversight, and Audit committees.
The Safety committee will convene on Wednesday, July 21, at 9 am, ahead of the full MTA board at 10 am, according to the agency.
For more information on the July board meetings, visit www.new.mta.info/transparency/board-and-committee-meetings.