Letter: Include FTA in MTA Open Data Act

(Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Dear Editor,

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo assumed office on Jan. 1, 2011, he promised to run the most open and transparent administration in history. This was to have included all state agencies, along with dozens of independent authorities like the MTA. In 2013, Cuomo issued an executive order for all state agencies and authorities to publish their data online. The state Legislature recently passed the “MTA Open Data Act.” Cuomo should sign this bill into law. The legislation directs the MTA to publish all statistical and factual information it maintains on the states online portal.

The Federal Transit Administration provides $1.5 billion in annual capital grants to the MTA. This is accomplished under the FTA Transit Award Management System (known as “TrAMS”) that is used to award and manage federal grants. The MTA currently manages an active portfolio of federally funded capital improvement projects and programs in open grants worth more than $12 billion in direct federal financial assistance. This does not include $14 billion in CARE COVID-19 funding.

Cuomo claims his administration is the most above board in history. In addition to the state governmental portal, why not promote transparency by having all of this information submitted to the FTA by the MTA posted on their agency website as well?

City, state and federal financial assistance along with farebox revenues fund MTA capital projects and programs. Commuters and taxpayers are looking for accountability, efficiency and timely completion of capital projects, programs and maintenance to assure more reliable and safe commutes. Riders, transit advocacy groups, taxpayers, elected officials and transportation reporters deserve easy access to this information.

Larry Penner

More from Around NYC