Overtime was a gravy train for MTA workers worth nearly $1 billion last year, according to payroll data released Monday.

As commuters suffer through constant delays caused by aging infrastructure, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority shelled out $971 million in OT last year — a 4% bump from the prior year and the highest amount since at least 2014, according to the fiscally conservative Empire Center for Public Policy.

The top earners were Long Island Rail Road workers — they made up seven of the eight MTA employees who pulled in overtime pay that topped $200,000.

The worker with the heftiest overtime, LIRR track foreman Ralph Golden, earned an extra $256,155 on top of his $104,822 base salary, for total pay of $360,977 — a sum that was $14,271 higher than ex-MTA chief Thomas Prendergast’s salary of $346,706.

Overall, 177 MTA workers pulled in more than $100,000 in overtime last year, with 112 of them working at the LIRR.

Meanwhile, employees at NYC Transit — the largest MTA agency, which runs the subways and buses — collected the most overall overtime pay, $595 million, a 4% increase from the prior year.

Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center, said overtime is an indicator of how efficiently an organization is run.

 MTA spokeswoman Beth DeFalco attributed the spike in overtime to the demands of a 24-hour transit system.

“The alternative to overtime for these specialized jobs would be to have more employees at a higher cost to the MTA and riders,” DeFalco said. “The amount that certain individuals earn is governed by collective bargaining agreements. The MTA has effective checks and balances in place to monitor and minimize nonessential overtime.”

Anthony Simon, LIRR union leader, agreed, saying that these high earners are “literally working around the clock.”

“These foremen, as well as all LIRR employees, are away from their homes and families for days to ensure both the emergency work and scheduled track work is being performed properly,” Simon said.

© 2017 Daily News


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