Cuomo says New York City is responsible for subway system, not the state

Posted On Fri, July 21, 2017 By

Posted On Fri, July 21, 2017 By In Policy, Transportation

Although New York City’s subway is currently in a state of emergency, no government official seems to want to take ownership of the failing transit system. Governor Cuomo and Joseph Lhota, the recently appointed chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, called on Mayor de Blasio and City Hall to contribute more money for repairing the subway system on Thursday, citing a law that puts the city in charge of the track system. As the New York Times reported, Lhota and the MTA are preparing an emergency plan to deal with the subway, expecting more funds to come from the city. The plan, which Cuomo ordered the MTA to create within 30 days, is set to be completed by the end of next week.

MTA, A train, MTA renovation plan

Cuomo and de Blasio have frequently bickered over who should pay for subway restorations. Technically, the governor appoints members to the MTA board and controls the authority’s budget. However, according to Cuomo, the city owns the transit system through the NYC Transit Authority and leases it to the MTA. During a press conference on Thursday, Lhota said, “For anyone to say ‘not my problem, it’s the state’s problem,’ they don’t know the law. They don’t know the law and they don’t understand the relationship.”

The law Lhota is referring to dates back to 1981, during the city’s fiscal crisis and when the subway was in a deeper crisis than it is today. That year, on-time performance dropped by 50 percent and roughly 325 trains did not make it to their destinations each day on average. When the city was no longer able to pay for the maintenance of the subway, the state stepped in. According to the MTA head, that deal was never meant to be permanent. As Crain’s reported, Cuomo said: “It’s the legal obligation to be funding it, even though we stepped in on a moral level.”

The city has previously agreed in 2015 to put up $2.5 billion as part of the MTA’s $29 billion five-year capital plan. After declaring a state of emergency for the system, Cuomo pledged an extra $1 billion in capital funds next year, in addition to the already pledged $8.3 billion. A spokesperson for the mayor, Austin Finan, said City Hall’s contribution to the MTA’s budget has far exceeded its obligation.

“New Yorkers need serious leadership at a time like this,” Finan said. “Let’s stop the diversions and obfuscation and start spending the resources the MTA has on the repairs and maintenance that will keep New Yorkers moving.”

[Via NY Times]

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  • Howard Miller

    Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo continues forward with his plan to waste precious resources for a useless airtrain connection from Citifield to LaGuardia Airport instead of redirecting those funds to INCREASE the MTA’s capital plan budget for desperately needed upgrades to tracks, signals, or station modernization, or better yet, exercising his power as Governor to extend the N and W lines from Ditmars Blvd in Astoria, Queens, to LaGuardia so NYC can actually have an affordable, one-seat ride from the city center to its gateways, like Chicago (O’Hare and Midway airports), Washington, DC (Reagan National), and nearly every other major global city such as London, Paris and several in Asia have long had.

    Shows you how out of touch our governor is when he says crap like this, blame shifts like Donnie-boy Trump instead of actually taking responsibility for solving problems, and who remains obsessed on building a dinky, toy-train to LaGuardia from the middle of nowhere, that virtually every transportation expert has said is a complete waste of money that will take longer and cost more than double each way for passengers to get to LaGuardia from Manhattan than the crappy subway-bus connection via Woodside (where Long Island Railroad trains from nearly every station and branch of the entire network stop) or Jackson Heights (a major subway station and transit hub where many bus routes converge) that exists now.

    Oh, and btw, that dinky toy airtrain from nowheresville to LaGuardia that is on the other side of the marsh/swamp from downtown Flushing, and limited to one LIRR branch, the one that is isolated from the rest of the network, Port Washington, and whose off-peak nighttime and weekend service is extremely limited, will also cost an addition fare of some kind ($5?), just like the one from Jamaica to JFK does.

    Oh, yeah, that airtrain is going to be so useful…

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