De Blasio: There Is Argument For City Taking Over MTA

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio had a surprising suggestion Thursday after yet another day of subway delays.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, de Blasio is often seen in a two-car caravan being driven 12 miles from the Gracie Mansion to his Park Slope, Brooklyn gym. But with frustration over subway service mounting, Hizzoner vows to be a limousine liberal, or an SUV liberal, no more.

Mayor de Blasio says you are going to see him riding the subways a whole lot more often.

“A lot of the other things I wanted to focus on, I have focused on,” de Blasio said Thursday, “and now I’ll be focusing on the MTA a lot more.”

The mayor’s new focus comes as riders are furious, with delays mounting and overcrowding now routine.

Meanwhile, de Blasio’s opponents this election year blame him, even though Gov. Andrew Cuomo is the one who controls the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

With his back against the wall, de Blasio now thinks maybe that should change.

“Is there an argument for the MTA being run by the City of New York?” de Blasio said, “There absolutely is.”

Kramer: “Do you really want to run the subways?”

De Blasio: “I’ll try to give you a more gentle answer, Marcia. I’d say if the MTA can fix the problem, that is the optimal solution. If the MTA will not fix the problem, I’d rather have the City of New York run it.”

Opponents scoffed.

“It shouldn’t take an election year to get him to take action on the subway system and trying to rectify the awful commutes that New Yorkers have faced on a daily basis,” said Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis.

”Bill de Blasio once said he wasn’t interested in ‘being the pothole mayor’ and it shows,” said Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey.

Riders had their own doubts about the city taking over, though some liked the idea.

“I think it’s going to take more than one person to fix the subway system, so I don’t think just turning it over to Mayor de Blasio is the answer,” said rider Michael Hearn of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

“I think the mayor would probably do better,” said Xavier Dale.

“Only God knows who would run it the best,” another woman said.

The mayor ruled out giving the MTA more from his own budget and refused to take a position on other ideas for raising funds, including congestion pricing and tolls on the East River bridges.

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