Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The New York City Transit Strike

I was listening to the Hugh Hewitt Radio Show on my way home last night. I will be honest in saying that Hewitt was a big influence that got me started with Rip Track. He does his own blog, and has convinced many others like myself to start one as well.

It isn't often that Hugh speaks about issues regarding Amtrak, or Transit, or railroads for that matter. So when the subject of the New York Transit Strike came up as he was speaking with Mr. John Podhoretz, my attention locked on to the discussion. Podhoretz is a New York Post columnist who is a bit irreverant and more than just a little fun to hear.

You may want to read the whole discussion, which can be found on Radio Blogger. It is a word-for-word transcript of what was said on the radio show. Get to the January 9th entry and scroll down to a point just above the discussion the House Rules Committee (the Podhoretz interview covers several other topics).

If you do go to the site, you will read, among other things, that the Union was paid $131,700,000 to settle the strike (an amount verified by Dan Zukowski), that no one really know whether MTA has a $1 billion surplus or a $600 million deficit, that such financial irregularities are due to the tremendous amount of cash taken in daily, that the average NYC Transit Worker makes on average $15,000 more than the median income in New York, and that the term "thugs" as used by the New York City Mayor is a racist comment.

Another interesting observation was that when the MTA in particular, and government in general, wishes to come up with some money, somehow they find it if the government itself thinks there is high enough importance. This is an idea that appeals to those who vote against any tax increase or bond enabling measure.

Obviously, I cannot verify Mr. Podhoretz's allegations. No matter. I am going to be interested in seeing whether such information is reported in the New York Times, or other media outlets read by NYC citizens. If and when it is, the reaction of those people who were delayed and stranded, and those businesses who lost millions, will be very interesting, indeed.

The other lesson I am learning here is that bidding the supply of track material and labor to the MTA and looking for every nickel in my cost for each item submitted may not matter in the grand scheme of things with this particular agency. There must be other forces at work with them.


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