to the editor: the news that the mta adopted a proposed austerity budget is no surprise to those of us who care about mass public transportation. for far too long, the state legislature, particularly the speaker of the assembly, has fiddled while our public transport infrastructure burned. richard ravitch and his successors, robert kiley and peter stangl, began the process of bringing our public transit assets into a state of good repair in the mid-1980s, squeezing every last dollar they could. since the state government refused to fully fund their proposals, substantial borrowing occurred. the result is a tremendous debt. today, our trains run better than they did years ago. the infrastructure is being held together by bubble gum and bailing wire. this year, a sensible congestion pricing proposal was sent to the legislature for review. one man, sheldon silver, the kidney stone of new york politics, refused to even allow it to be debated. for a member of the democratic party, he acted in an undemocratic way. we cannot return to the bad old days when maintenance was deferred and new equipment was accepted, no matter what its state. the state legislature must seriously consider both the proposals forwarded by richard ravitch and reconsider congestion pricing. the time for action was yesterday. our elected officials must either lead or get out of the way. following is not an option anymore.
kenneth barr inwood letters have been edited for clarity, style and brevity.