The MTA’s Jay Walder has named Robert Foran, former Bear Stearns managing director, to the authority’s chief financial officer post. Problem is — Foran enabled the creation of a lot of the MTA’s problems in the first place.

One of the MTA’s many disaster areas is where the debt bomb it cobbled together nearly a decade ago is exploding. In the early 2000s, under then-Gov. George Pataki, the MTA restructured its debt to push big payments out into the future — so that it could borrow more at the time without paying the price.

The future is now. The borrowing the MTA did back then allowed Albany, City Hall, and the MTA all to pretend that the state, city, and the transit authority don’t have to make tough choices — including reforming unsustainable retiree costs and ridiculous work rules so that the MTA can make the capital investments in transit that New York’s economy needs.

Foran could argue that, hey, it’s not his fault — Pataki and the MTA wanted to avoid reality, and he was just the guy that used his “Wall Street creativity,” as Kim Paparello Vaccari, who was then the MTA’s finance director, calls it, to help them.

But that’s part of the problem. Wall Street will never say no to craven municipal borrowers — as long as bankers and investors think that stooge taxpayers / farepayers / ratepayers will be willing to pay the bill when it comes.

Someday they all may be surprised!

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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

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