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Rep. D’Esposito’s new attempt for greater MTA oversight

Scene of derailment of LIRR train #722 east of Jamaica at Hall Interlocking on Thursday, Aug 3, 2023. MTA Chair & CEO Janno Lieber, SMART General Chairman Anthony Simon. (Marc A. Hermann / MTA)
Marc A. Hermann/Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
MTA Chair & CEO Janno Lieber at the scene of a derailment.

As the June 30 start-date for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA)congestion toll looms closer, U.S. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY) continues to push for the MTA to be held to greater accountability.

In efforts to stop the congestion toll, which would require most vehicles to pay $15 per day to enter Manhattan below 60th Street, D’Esposito has proposed legislation opposing the toll and written letters to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee asking them to subpoena the MTA.

Alongside Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), D’Esposito’s latest attempt to keep the MTA in check is a bill that would ban the MTA’s chief executive officer, Janno Lieber, from using federal funds for a car, or having a driver transport him.

“We learned that Janno Lieber doesn't even use his own mass transit system to get to work and get around the city,” Gottheimer said.

“Apparently, he uses a government vehicle… to get around the city. The very thing his congestion tax, ironically, is aiming to get off the road. Here's the kicker: Janno’s government car won't even be subject to the congestion tax when the congestion tax goes into place.”

D’Esposito denies that the bill is a last-ditch effort against the MTA.

“I don't think it's grasping for straws. We try to find solutions to problems,” he said. Both are a part of the Problem Solvers Caucus.

“And whether it's lawsuits, whether it's removing federal funds, whether it's trying to find ways to slow this process down so that we can find an avenue to stop it, especially when it's based solely on the mismanagement of the MTA, I think that's exactly what we're going to keep doing," D’Esposito added.

Newsday reported that according to MTA officials, Lieber uses the subway to get to work every day, occasionally getting transported in an MTA vehicle. Officials said the vehicle wouldn’t be exempt under the congestion toll guidelines.

Eda Uzunlar (she/her) is a reporter for WSHU.