NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With subway riders calling for an end to their commuting nightmare, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio are pointing fingers over who should pay for the fix.
On Monday — only a few days ago — New Yorkers were treated to the unlikely sight of the governor and mayor hugging, with de Blasio even clapping for Cuomo.
Now, all the mayor has for the governor is a loud Bronx cheer. Both traded barbs about the city’s failing subway system and, more importantly, who should foot the bill.
“We put our money where our mouth is,” Cuomo said. “True New Yorkers put their money where their mouth is. I have.”
The governor argues that under a 1953 agreement, which established the Transit Authority, the city owns the subway system and leases it to the MTA. He says the city also accepted responsibility for capital construction costs.
“You have politics and then you have the law. By the law, the city is responsible for funding the capital of the subway system,” Cuomo told CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer. “It’s the mayor’s legal responsibility to pay for it.”
But City Hall says, now just one minute, governor. The city says the agreement states it only has to pony up $5 million, and that it has already given the MTA $2.5 billion, which is “far in excess of any legal obligation.”
“Let’s stop the diversions and obfuscation,” a spokesperson said. “And start spending the resources the MTA has on the repairs and maintenance that will keep New Yorkers moving.”
When CBS2 asked commuters who should fix their ride, the answers were mixed.
“I think the governor is probably responsible,” Crown Heights resident Michelle Lamont said.
“The mayor. I think it’s uniquely a city problem,” said Howard Essner, of the Upper West Side. “Maybe perhaps it should be a joint effort between the governor and the mayor, but it needs to get down and it needs to get done fast.”
“They should get together and do it. Somebody should do it. It’s dreadful, beyond dreadful. Every day I’m late,” said Janet Flora, of Manhattan.
MTA Chairman Joe Lhota held a press conference Thursday evening to discuss the 1953 law the governor and mayor are squabbling about. Perhaps he wanted to have the last word and show the governor has the law on his side, Kramer reported.
“I am in the process of putting together a report. That report is going to say: we’re going to need additional resources,” Lhota said, suggesting the city is going to need to pay more. “The city of New York last year had a $3 billion surplus; it now has a $4 billion surplus.”