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Groups Urge City To Adopt Their Agenda To Fix Transit System

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Representatives of eight advocacy groups gathered outside City Hall Thursday, urging all candidates for city office from the mayor on down to adopt their comprehensive transportation agenda to fix New York City’s ailing transit system.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, the group’s suggestions run for pages. For a couple of examples, they are urging the next mayor to implement half-price subway and bus fares for New Yorkers living below the poverty line, while also forcing real estate developers to fork over more cash to repair and expand the mass transit system.

“What all these policy planks, agenda items have in common is that they are all proven,” said Paul Steely White of Transportation Alternatives. “We are not here to promote flying cars or monorails or, you know, new tunneling for autonomous vehicles. These are all proven solutions that simply need to be expanded.”

The groups want to see bicycling doubled by 2020 and want to ensure the city kicks in a promised $2.5 billion to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Capital Plan.

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the MTA, so as to allow the agency to expedite funding and repairs to what he described as a rapidly decaying and dysfunctional system.

In addition, the governor said New York state will commit another $1 billion to the MTA Capital Plan “so the MTA has the resources they need to get it done.”

That is on top of the $8.3 billion that Cuomo has already poured into the MTA’s $30 billion capital plan.

In announcing the state of emergency, the governor referenced many of the recent issues, a recent derailment on the A train in Harlem that left dozens injured among them. Officials said it appeared to have been caused by an improperly stored piece of rail and two track maintenance supervisors have now suspended without pay.

Cuomo called on the city last week to spend more money on mass transit just as the state is.

“Put your money where your mouth is,” Cuomo said.

But de Blasio said the subway system is in the jurisdiction of the state, not the city.

“This is the state’s responsibility,” de Blasio said last week. “We in the city have a host of things we are responsible for that we don’t have enough resources for.”

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