Letter: Author’s logic on transportation projects doesn’t add up

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update during a press conference in the Red Room at the State Capitol.
(Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

To the Editor,

Re: Larry Penner’s letter to the editor in the Feb. 4 issue of this newspaper.

In opinion pieces making the rounds after the appointment of Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary, Larry Penner alternately lamented that Buttigieg was not a Republican, not experienced running a large agency, and DOT functioned well in his absence.

In his frequent criticism of former Gov. Cuomo, the author lamented that Cuomo was no good for the state’s transportation infrastructure because Cuomo had no background in transportation and had never built a business.

The author feels that in order to push Mayor Adams’ transportation projects, the city transportation commissioner, Ydanis Rodriguez, should sit on the MTA Board. The author doesn’t give us even an elementary idea of what those projects are or does he explain how the MTA Board can help Rodriguez accomplish transportation projects in NYC, most of which are presumably above ground and out of the MTA’s purview.

The author continues by concluding City Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers should also sit on the MTA Board. No justification is provided for this statement.

Rodriguez and Brooks-Powers are Democrats; Rodriguez has a degree in Political Science, while Brooks-Powers one in International Law. Brooks-Powers has been involved with community organizing and women and minority issues.

I’m sure each is capable of performing admirable work. I am making no statement myself as to whether these two are or are not qualified to sit on the MTA Board. But I’m not following what about Brooks-Powers’ background makes her qualified to do transportation work. Neither Rodriguez or Brooks-Powers, as far as I can tell, have ever built a business. Neither has a background in transportation (college degree or paid experience). Rodriguez was chair of the council’s Transportation Committee.

Why is it that the author’s logic regarding Buttigieg and Cuomo do not apply to Rodriguez and Brooks-Powers? Doesn’t the author pay attention to his other opinion pieces? Doesn’t the author care about the quality of his opinion pieces?

Nat Weiner

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