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Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus on Wednesday called for Orange County, along with Dutchess, Putnam and Rockland counties, to be given a full vote on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board.
Currently, the four counties get a ¼ vote on MTA issues. The MTA is North America’s largest transportation network, serving a population of 15.3 million people across a 5,000-square-mile travel area surrounding New York City through Long Island, southeastern New York State and Connecticut.
“Since Governor Cuomo is taking an active role in the administrative structure of the MTA, now is the right time for all four counties to be given a full vote on the MTA Board,” Neuhaus said. “I urge the Governor to support this request in his restructuring plans for the MTA. We feel that Orange County needs a more prominent voice about MTA policies and issues, which have a direct impact on our residents. I plan to work closely with the MTA to help shape and improve the system.”
Neuhaus urges the Governor and State Legislature to re-introduce a bill that would give the so-called “quarter pounder” counties, Orange, Dutchess, Putnam and Rockland, a full MTA Board vote. Recently retired State Senator William Larkin introduced a bill that would have given Orange County a full vote on the MTA board during the 2015-16 New York State Senate session; however, the bill never passed.
Orange, Dutchess, Putnam and Rockland counties have shared one collective vote on the MTA Board since first being granted representation in 1987. Since then, the populations of these counties have increased and the number of New York City commuters who have migrated and now reside in the upstate counties has also become larger. In comparison, the commuter counties of Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties each have one full vote.
Published reports indicate strong differences between the Governor and the Mayor of New York City over who controls the MTA. The back and forth though, according to Neuhaus, largely leaves out suburban counties whose millions of residents also utilize the MTA.
“We don’t need the blame game, we need results,” Neuhaus said. “Now that one party controls State government, all the political excuses are lost. Whether it is subways or rail lines, mass transit is key to economic success for our region and State. Hopefully, the State will finally give us a full vote.”
For more information, contact Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations at 845.291.3255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.