David Meyer

Gov. Cuomo push to hire 500 more MTA police officers will likely balloon the agency’s already outrageous $1.4 billion overtime bill, critics charged.

MTA cops earn more OT on average than any other agency employees, according to records obtained by the Empire Center.

Soaring overtime costs are partly to blame: MTA PD’s total OT bill topped $27 million in 2018, a 21 percent spike from 2017, the data shows.

The Citizens Budget Commission estimates the 500 cops will cost more than $1 billion over ten years, while the MTA faces budget deficits.

The city’s subways have historically been the NYPD’s jurisdiction, making Cuomo’s decision to deploy the new cops on subways and buses “really odd,” the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon said.

MTA police have historically patrolled MTA commuter rails, and been primarily focused on securing property as opposed to “proactive law enforcement,” he told The Post.

The NYPD is traditionally responsible for patrolling city subways and buses.

“MTA management and ultimately the governor don’t trust the de Blasio administration to allow the NYPD to handle it,” said McMahon. “The MTA was getting largely free police coverage, and are now saying [they’ll] take over that and find the money to pay for it.”

In a statement, MTA spokesman Tim Minton said MTA police have been trained alongside NYPD recruits for the past two decades.

“It’s insulting to the dedicated women and men of the MTAPD to suggest they are somehow not equipped for the ‘pro-active law enforcement’ they perform professionally every day,” Minton said. “These additional officers will help ensure public safety for all riders and transit employees as we continue to collaborate with the NYPD.”

© 2019 New York Post

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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.