For eight months, Long Island has been without one of its representatives on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board. That has meant a lack of advocacy on key transportation issues at a critical time for the Long Island Rail Road.
Acting on Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s recommendation, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has appointed David Mack, a real estate executive, philanthropist and big political donor, to fill that empty seat. The State Senate is expected to approve the appointment. Yet Mack, of Kings Point, has a complicated story. He served on the MTA board from 1993 until 2009. But then he refused to cooperate with an investigation by then-state Attorney General Cuomo into whether the state police, of which he was a nonsalaried deputy superintendent, had a political agenda. He resigned under pressure.
Mack’s political ties and controversial history don’t suggest he is the ideal candidate to be Nassau’s voice. To be credible, Mack, 77, will have to put the needs of LIRR riders above his political relationships and his ego. This is a critical time for the MTA; its governing structure is being redefined as it seeks new funding streams.
His real estate and financial knowledge should help the MTA cut costs, improve management and find ideas to generate revenue. His network of business and political associates and relationship-building should help him advocate for Long Island’s interests. From East Side Access and the third track, day-to-day LIRR service and big projects like a new station for Belmont Park, Mack will have a lot on his plate. He said he supports vital efforts like congestion pricing, and says he’ll do “what’s right for Nassau County.”
We’re counting on it. — The editorial board