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Feb 23, 2010 5:47 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Local leaders speak out against MTA service cuts

Feb 23, 2010 5:47 PM

Mr. Walter was referring to a failed movement in the late 1990s that called for the five East End towns to secede from Suffolk County and form a new Peconic County.

Mr. Lesko, who spoke briefly during the press conference, echoed the sentiments of many in attendance by stating that the MTA tax is a burden on his municipality. “I join everybody here today in strong support of protesting this tax,” he said.

In the past, Brookhaven Town was not included in discussions about creating a new transportation authority on the East End. But legislators began to entertain the notion of including it on Friday.

“The idea of a transportation authority that includes Brookhaven makes perfect sense to me,” Mr. Thiele said.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst also attended Friday’s press conference, but did not speak. Afterward, she expressed support for a new regional transportation authority separate from the MTA.

“I think our best bet is to break off,” she said. “We just don’t fit their model.”

Local businessmen also spoke out against the MTA payroll tax, including Chris Baiz, the president of the Long Island Wine Council’s Board of Directors, and Mark Zaweski, the president of the Long Island Farm Bureau.

“Making ends meet is becoming more and more difficult as this tax will further cut into our already slim profits,” Mr. Zaweski said.

The press conference was rounded out by William Schoolman, the president of Hampton Luxury Liner, who filed a lawsuit in December against several state officials claiming that the payroll tax is unconstitutional. Mr. Schoolman said the MTA is fiscally mismanaged, and should not receive a bailout. He added that the burden of the payroll tax is inevitably passed on to consumers and constituents.

“Everybody is paying for this tax, whether they’re in business or not,” he said.

When asked if he supports the dissolution of the MTA, Mr. LaValle said: “I think what we need to do is look at the MTA law and how it was realized and go line by line and see what works and what doesn’t.”

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why do i have to pay for something i do not use.a typical thats new york for ya
By asurest (117), easthampton on Feb 19, 10 2:25 PM
yeah, it's time. i don't mind paying taxes for worthwhile services, but the MTA tax KILLS ME. since i'm self employed, i have to send a hefty check to NYS every few months to pay for a system that barely serves my community. glad that thiele, lavalle, romaine et al are fighting for us. i support a peconic bay transportation authority 100%.
By jm (17), Hampton Bays on Feb 19, 10 4:22 PM
This most recent cut in service is such a slap in the face. It comes less than 6 months after the payroll tax in order to fix a huge budget gap. To cut service that was already meager is a cry for help from a poorly managed system. I am not ready hop on board with a new transit authority unless it can address the ferry companies. We need to connect the two forks on this far east end with at least a rate freeze or maybe a bus connecting Sag Harbor and Greenport. As it is now these places are ...more
By Ebby (75), Sag Harbor on Feb 19, 10 7:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
the peconic bay transportation authority sounds great but how will it be funded? where will the funding for equipment, busses, trains, operators, bureaucrats, etc come from? thats right your taxes! so whether its the mta or peconic bay regional transportation authority you'll still be paying and with a completely new entity it will probably be more! adding more government is not the solution! how about reducing the bloated mta management!
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Feb 19, 10 9:20 PM
No tax. No tax.
By Ebby (75), Sag Harbor on Feb 19, 10 10:39 PM
Rather than creating a new transportation bureaucracy specific to the East End, we should enjoin our legislators to press for undiminished service on the LIRR based on the fact that it will become a truly vital transportation link as oil becomes scarce and temperatures warm.

These phenomena have made it clear that the internal combustion automobile is a dinosaur. We on the East End are going to rely more and more on electrically powered transportation. For long regional distances, that's ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Feb 19, 10 11:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
You can all thank SEN. BRIAN X FOLEY for this extra tax. He was the deciding vote in allowing this to pass! Now he's going around trying to get it reduced, trying to make it seem like he's a great guy working for you, the tax payers of long island! B.S. He voted this in, let him know you feel about it! I work at home, I don't even commute in a car to work but yet I still have to pay to a company that I don't ever use! Also, I thought the MTA wasn't allowed to take government funding!?
By yoda (2), mastic Beach on Feb 20, 10 10:52 AM
Very Taxed by the MTA
I don't particularly like politicians that much but,Thank you Senator Kenn LaValle, Legislator Ed Romaine, Assemblyman Dean Murray, Assemblyman Fred Thiele, and Assemblyman Marc Alessi, for it is refreshing to see and hear,what seems to be an important issue with us taxpayers being addressed by a bipartisan collection of elected officials. Please keep up the good work and continue to work closely with one another.
Thanks for all you do.
Sincerely, Johnny Nova
P.S. ...more
By Johnny Nova (83), Northampton on Feb 21, 10 4:36 PM
Any hope that the MTA can be reformed to include our East End needs seems myopic and naive IMO. Indeed, the MTA has "dissed" us for decades. THEY are going to change?

"Why ask the fox to keep guarding the hen house, when all the chickens are dying, and fox has fowl blood drooling from his lips?"

[Yeah, now there's a quote for you!]

We need a total change of transportation leadership here IMO. Even the MTA has hinted that they want to be rid of us.

OK, let's do ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Feb 22, 10 2:18 PM
Sounds good huh? How much will it cost? More than the MTA? Will Shelly Silver approve of this new agency? (if not, you better forget it). Political patronage? New agency? Guess what will happen.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Feb 22, 10 10:46 PM
Oh please. Like this is the first time people pay taxes for things that they don't use. I don't have kids, so why should I pay thousands in property tax every year on school taxes? I don't use the library, so why should I pay for it? Although public transportation may not be a very practical or convenient option for East Enders, imagine what life would be like without the MTA? Traffic would be much, much worse. The luxury bus lines would charge outrageous fares. A two-hour drive to the city ...more
By HEJIRANYC (32), Sag Harbor on Feb 22, 10 2:26 PM
For an ongoing discussion on the prospect of creating a Peconic Transportation Authority, visit the new 27east forums: http://www.27east.com/forum/messages.cfm?threadid=E81A0565-E081-4CAC-92F7809631CFF959
By BOReilly (135), 27east Web Editor on Feb 23, 10 12:54 PM
Supplanting MTA with a so-called PBTA is not the solution to our current lack of adequate LIRR service and the additional projected service cuts to and from eastern Suffolk County. Making the MTA's LIRR work for all of Long Island - from Brooklyn to Montauk, from Queens to Greenport,- is the answer. It is after all the "Long Island Rail Road", not the "New York City Rail Road" or "MTA Rail Road".

The LIRR plans to eliminate the 4:30 PM Peak Hunterspoint to Montauk train starting in September ...more
By JKR (1), Center Moriches on Feb 23, 10 4:07 PM
Faith in the MTA's ability to change is misplaced in my opinion. Just look at its "track" record.

Dreadful !!!

Time for a change.

Cut bait.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Feb 23, 10 4:17 PM
Commented above, but adding to it here. Having the MTA implement needed changes out here would be the optimal solution. There is a saying: lead, follow or get out of the way. If the MTA can't lead or follow, then there is only one other choice.
By jm (17), Hampton Bays on Feb 24, 10 3:33 PM
We let it happen, folks, with our lazy and inattentive attitudes. Are we tough enough stand tall, demand accountability and vote ALL the incumbents OUT Nov 2nd?
By oneseriousSicilian (63), medford on Mar 12, 10 5:46 PM