Legislation sponsored by Senator Comrie and Assemblymember Carroll a common-sense way to increase transparency and efficiency at state’s largest public authority
Reinvent Albany thanks Governor Kathy Hochul for signing the MTA Open Data Act, A1442-B/S4625-A. Eighteen transit, open government and disability groups wrote to Governor Kathy Hochul last week and asked her to sign the legislation. By signing this bill, Governor Hochul is taking an important step toward fulfilling her commitment to improve transparency in New York State government.
The legislation was passed by the Legislature under the leadership of sponsors Senator Leroy Comrie and Assemblymember Robert Carroll in June, whom we also thank for their efforts.
Though it applies only to the MTA, the legislation codifies Executive Order (EO) 95 of 2013, which defines “public data” and requires it to be published on the state’s open data portal, http://data.ny.gov. The groups say the bill is a common-sense way to increase transparency and improve efficiency at the state’s largest public authority.
The MTA is a massive agency that serves millions of riders every day, and has an $18 billion operating budget. However, the MTA has only published 76 datasets on the state’s open data portal, compared to the NYS Department of Health’s 563 datasets. While the MTA has made strides in releasing real-time service data to third parties like Google, open data related to contracts and finances has lagged and is often provided in inaccessible PDFs.
By putting EO 95 into law, the MTA’s open data process will be subject to greater legislative and public oversight. Within 180 days, the MTA must create a catalogue of “public data” and schedule for publishing this data in the next three years. New York City has been a pioneer in open data, and a key contributor to NYC’s success has been the legislative mandate and robust oversight undertaken by the City Council.
The full letter is available here.