Anyone with more than a passing familiarity with the New York metro area knows that the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA)-- the independent government agency responsible for New York City's public transit, roadways, and commuter rail-- is the source of constant man-on-the-street (or in the tunnel) criticism from a number of angles.
That's all the more reason why the agency's efforts to develop an environmentally-friendly master plan are extremely welcome. In recognizing its potential as a positive agent in the fight against global warming, the MTA not only joins growing ranks of other state and local officials, but might well end up scoring points with its biggest critics:
"The issue of global warming is arguably the most significant challenge our generation faces and it's important that the MTA do its part," Metropolitan Transportation Authority Executive Director Elliot Sander said.
A blue ribbon panel of experts will develop the authority's green master plan. It will set specific targets, including levels to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, said Ernest Tollerson, MTA director for policy and media relations.
Straphangers, meanwhile, stand to gain more than cleaner air and water, said Alex Matthiessen, president of Riverkeeper, a nonprofit environmental organization. Matthiessen is on the panel, which will hold its first meeting this week. The changes could also bring more reliable service.