Governor Andrew Cuomo has tried to put the responsibility for the ailing subways on the city and the mayor. It is a bit of an about-face for the governor, who was eager to take credit for the Second Avenue Subway last winter.
Governor Andrew Cuomo was riding high. After years of delays, the much-anticipated Second Avenue Subway was finally set to open on New Year’s Day.
The governor was eager to not only take credit for the success, but also to be held accountable.
“You know who runs the MTA? The governor has the majority of members. And what I said is, I’m going to step up and take responsibility,” Cuomo said at the time. “If this does not open January 1? It’s me. It’s me. I would have failed. And I accept that responsibility.”
Fast forward seven months. The subways are in a state of disrepair. Delays have worsened, and subway rider anger about the system is at an all-time high.
At an event last week, Cuomo quite literally tried to run away from his responsibility for the subways by attempting to avoid reporters’ questions. He was forced to stop and talk, and this time, he hit a very different note about who is accountable for the trains.
“By law, New York City owns the transit system. New York City is solely responsible for funding the capital plan for the New York City subway system,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo has been feuding with Mayor Bill de Blasio on this and many other issues. On Sunday, the mayor rode the train and laid the responsibility for poorly functioning trains solely on his rival.
“The state of New York is responsible for making sure our subways run,” de Blasio said.
Experts back the mayor on this over the governor.
“The state exerts the most control and oversight, both through the number of board appointees that the governor has, more than any other person, including the mayor,” said Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute. “And also from the financing. The state is the taxing entity.”
The governor’s poll numbers have started to sink, particularly over the issue of subways. Some believe that is precisely why the governor has tried to muddy the waters on this issue.
Mayor releases 5-point subway system improvement plan, Lhota fires back.
The mayor wants:
1) Immediate relief for riders, improving service and reliability.
2) The MTA should have public performance goals and standards.
3) Clear accountability for continual improvement.
4) An efficient and fair MTA budget and a reallocation of resources towards core needs.
5) A meaningful state commitment to the needs of subway riders.
“The political posturing and photo opps are getting silly,” said Joe Lhota, MTA Chairman.
To a stupid outsider like me, it sounds like kickoff of campaign for Governor.