Mail this story to a friend.          
Cuomo announces latest response to NYC MTA mass transit subway crisis: Statement from governor, wth reaction from Gianaris, Riders Alliance, TWU union, Partnership for NYC.
NYSNYS News
Text of press releases.


For Immediate Release: 6/20/2017
GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO

State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor

GOVERNOR CUOMO ADVANCES LEGISLATION TO GIVE STATE CONTROL OF MTA BOARD AND ADDRESS CURRENT CRISIS


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today advanced legislation to give New York State majority control of the MTA and thus the responsibility and authority to address the current crisis.

The legislation would add two additional state seats to the MTA Board appointed by the Governor and an additional vote for the Chairman. Of the new Board’s total voting members, it would now give the state eight appointees and nine votes.

Currently, there is no voting majority on the MTA. New York State currently has six seats, New York City has four seats and Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Putnam have the balance of the Board’s seats for a total of 14 voting seats.

The MTA's organizational structure was originally created in 1965. While the Board included all governments in the MTA region it also divided responsibility among the Authority's various political leaders. That created a Board without accountability, which requires constant coalition building on the board to effect action Finger pointing has been standard operating procedure for decades.

Statement from Governor Cuomo:

"The MTA is in a state of crisis. Historic underfunding leaves it with obsolete equipment going back to the 1940s. The bureaucracy is dysfunctional. The recent Penn emergency track closures on July 8 will be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. The July 8 LIRR and New Jersey Transit cancellations will drive more people into the subway system, in the middle of the summer. There is no quick or small fix for the MTA. We are advancing $32 billion for the MTA capital plan – an historic amount – but it must be implemented: new cars purchased, new signals installed, new equipment acquired and new personnel hired. We are conducting an international conference next week for the best vendors.

"The MTA Board structure assumed regional participation in the metropolitan area’s transportation systems but left no one in charge. While New York State has six of the 14 voting seats – that is not control. There is no transformative plan that will require major change and possibly more investment that will be agreed upon by the various separate political bodies with competing needs. Complex projects don’t get effectively managed by unanimous agreement of large political bureaucracies. We don’t have 10 years to do this. The state will dedicate itself to the task and assume responsibility, but the state needs the authority.

"The state has taken a similar approach at the Port Authority. New York State is responsible for LGA and JFK Airports’ reconstruction. The state is responsible for oversight of the Tappan Zee Bridge, the Kosciusko Bridge, and many more. The state does not shy away from challenges, but we need the ability and authority to perform.

"On the Second Avenue Subway project, for example, the MTA was floundering. The state took control of the projects using state personnel. The other members of the MTA Board did not oppose the state’s role as it was either not in their region or because they had no desire to participate in what appeared to be a doomed project. The Second Avenue Subway had been delayed for years and was projected to miss the deadline again. With the state’s intervention, we completed the task on deadline.

"Some people assume the state’s six voting seats are the majority and say the state has control. Obviously, six is not a majority of the 14 voting seats, and many issues generate controversy that can cause the other jurisdictions to defeat the six votes. We have seen it already on questions of increasing local government’s operating expense contributions, but if their position is the state has control than actually providing that control should not be an issue. They can't logically assert state control and oppose it at the same time.

"In sum, let’s fix the fundamental and initial mistake – 'put someone in charge.' The state is the obvious entity to manage a regional network, and the state contributes a multiple of any other jurisdiction’s funding. The simple fact is if no one has the responsibility and the authority, fundamental, rapid change of any culture or system is impossible."

****


For Immediate Release: June 20, 2017

Contact: Liza Acevedo│(718) 728-0960│(718) 909-2150│acevedomliza@gmail.com



Senator Gianaris on Governor Cuomo’s MTA Proposal



"The MTA crisis is the result of a lack of both accountability and resources, which my 'Better Trains, Better Cities' plan would address. I applaud the Governor's proposal to create more accountability within the MTA Board. No solution will be complete, however, unless we also address the historic underfunding that led us to the current emergency."

****

Riders Alliance Statement on Governor Cuomo's proposal to change composition of MTA Board

Today Governor Cuomo proposed to expand the MTA board in order to give the state an outright majority of votes. The Riders Alliance released the following statement:

"Governor Cuomo's MTA board proposal obscures the very real fact that the governor already controls the MTA. The governor appoints the MTA chair, the governor appoints most board members, the governor dictates MTA spending priorities and the governor dominates the state budget nd legislative negotiations that determine how the MTA does its job. In practice, can the governor point to any situation in which other MTA board members have teamed up to block his initiatives?

"The problem is not the MTA Board structure. The problem is the absence of leadership and the lack of a credible plan from Gov. Cuomo for how he will fix the subway. Riders don't have the luxury of quibbling over MTA board governance when we know it's not the real issue. We need a plan from the governor and a reliable source of funding that can fix our disastrous commutes."

****

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2017

CONTACT:
Thomas Meara
tmeara@kivvit.com
(718) 309-3506


**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

Statement from John Samuelsen, International President, TWU of America

The Riders Alliance doesn’t get to have it both ways – they have repeatedly and publicly pointed out that control of the subway system belongs to Governor Cuomo. Now when the Governor steps up and embraces that responsibility legislatively by assuming the appointment of a flat out majority of voting board members, John Raskin objects. Come on, really?

With this legislation enacted there's no longer any debate regarding responsibility for the subway system or the entire MTA. The Governor is not shirking responsibility like some politicians, he's out in open, meeting this decades old challenge head on.

****

Statement from Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, Supporting Governor Cuomo’s Proposal to Give State Control of MTA Board


“Although we have not seen the legislation, New York City’s major employers and business leaders welcome the Governor’s proposal for the state to assume control of the MTA board in order to address immediate transit emergencies and to establish clear accountability for the management, maintenance and financing of what has become an unwieldy and overly bureaucratic authority,” stated Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City.

-30-