NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has upped the ante on fixing the city’s dysfunctional mass transit system. He now says it must be reorganized and that he should have total control.
It will also mean more money from the city, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Sunday.
The governor’s name is Andrew M. Cuomo. He now wants the “M” to stand for Metropolitan Transportation Authority. To his budget director, Robert Mujica, Cuomo floated a proposal that would give him iron-fisted control over the troubled agency, flushing out what he has only hinted at before.
“This year we have to take the bull by the horns with the MTA,” Cuomo said recently.
Cuomo’s plans would:
- Give him a clear majority of the board appointees
- Bar unilateral budget vetoes from elected officials like the mayor
- Give him full hiring and firing power
“The governor will step up, even if not politically, in his own best interest,” Mujica said in a statement.
The governor, who currently shares control of the agency with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and six county executives, also offered a revision to his funding plan for the $60 billion it is expected to take to fix buses and subways — congestion pricing with the city and state splitting any shortfall 50-50.
“We have to pass a dedicated funding stream, so the MTA has the funding it needs. Congestion pricing is the only alternative,” Cuomo said.
For his part, de Blasio in the past has rejected putting more city dollars into mass transit. During his state of the city speech he again called for the millionaire’s tax.
“There are a lot of solutions on the table,” de Blasio said. “Proposals for congestion pricing have definitely improved. Other people have floated other ideas, like a new Transportation Bond Act, or using the proceeds from marijuana revenue.”
Meanwhile, Council Speaker Corey Johnson said he’s trying to come up with his own plan to have the city take charge of the buses and subways.
“It’s complicated and it’s not easy, so I’m going to put forward a comprehensive, detail-oriented plan on how to do it,” Johnson said. “The exact details on the mechanisms on how to get that done is something I will release in the next 60 days.”
The governor is expected to have more to say on mass transit and a whole lot more issues on Tuesday during a speech in Albany.
Also on Tuesday, the MTA has called an emergency board meeting to be briefed on the “L” train project. The meeting is open to the public.