Category Archives: MTA

Malliotakis Press Conference: Subway Edition



The mayor has ridden off the rails.  That’s the essence of Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis’ assessment of Mayor de Blasio’s effectiveness at managing the subway system, offered this afternoon at a Columbus Circle press conference.

Malliotakis’ criticism at times skirts the reality that Governor Cuomo primarily controls the MTA and its subway system.  That’s particularly the case on criticism of de Blasio for operational troubles, but less so on a Malliotakis focus today; that the City should contribute more money to the MTA budget.

Video:

Here is the full press conference:

Malliotakis on Subway Derailment



Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis was not impressed by Mayor de Blasio’s silence on today’s subway derailment, offering harsh criticism tonight.  She characterized as “shocking” the mayor’s unwillingness to comment or respond to shouted questions from reporters.  More broadly, she urged a joint City/State effort at expediting upgrades of the subway signal system and said that as mayor she would willingly increase the City’s financial contribution to the MTA for such an effort.  Malliotakis also had kind words for newly returned MTA chairman Joe Lhota.

We spoke just ahead of Malliotakis’ appearance tonight at the West Side Republican Club.

Catch The G



Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey held a press conference this afternoon propounding a solution for an upcoming long term disruption of the L train.  Massey proposes modifying the G train route during a planned shutdown of the L train, thereby offering service into Manhattan for displaced L train riders.  Massey spoke at Macri Triangle Park in East Williamsburg, riding the L train to and fro with reporters.

Massey proposed a series of routing and switching changes that would bring the G train into Manhattan.  He would not provide a cost estimate beyond saying that it would cost “millions, not billions.”  He faced several questions on the role of the governor in running the MTA, how he would accomplish his plan in light of the governor’s control of the MTA, whether he accepts the notion that the governor actually controls the MTA and the nature of his relationship with Governor Cuomo.  He was also asked about his own gym habits, with a reporter asking if Massey came to this early afternoon press conference directly from the gym.

Video – Full Press Conference:

Photo Gallery:

Our photo gallery is available here.

Massey On Cuomo MTA Board Expansion



Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey avoided directly answering whether he supports Governor Cuomo’s end-of-session bid to expand the MTA board with an increase in the governor’s representation.  Cuomo announced a proposal late Tuesday afternoon to increase the governor’s representation to 9 of 17 MTA board seats, from the current 6 of 14.  Such a proposal would diminish the already limited influence that the New York City mayor has on the board, as they would continue to have 4 seats on an enlarged board.  I spoke with Massey Tuesday night, following a meeting of the Ronald Reagan Republican Club in Howard Beach.

Massey said that he’s “thrilled people are paying attention to the MTA” and that he’s “thrilled the governor is focusing on it.”  He didn’t actually state whether he would support such a proposal, however.  Notably, it’s contrary to Massey’s now often-stated goal of gaining greater influence for the City over the MTA’s subway operations.

Here’s our full exchange:

Massey Transportation: Chapter 3



Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey held a press conference today to outline the broad parameters of several transportation proposals, without providing any details, cost estimates or funding sources.  Massey has recently seized on the spate of subway troubles as a weapon against Mayor de Blasio, notwithstanding the limited role the mayor has in running the subway system, and he expanded that approach today as he briefly described several transportation projects beyond the subway.  That list included an expansion of PATH service to Staten Island, a “transformational infrastructure investment program” on most of the City’s major highways and an unspecified number of bridges, building “green corridors” over parts of the BQE and extending the G train into Manhattan.  He also pledged to implement an MTA system-wide maintenance campaign, despite the mayor not currently having the authority to do that, and a “total ground-up overhaul” of the City’s traffic management.

Continue reading Massey Transportation: Chapter 3

Massey Hits The Upper East



Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey made a brief visit to the Upper East Side Monday, greeting passersby at 86th Street and Lexington for about 15 minutes and speaking with the press for about 10 minutes.  He received an unremarkable reception, with most people streaming past him on the busy corner while a few said hi, shook his hand or stopped to chat on a hot summer evening.

In a post-meet & greet Q&A I asked Massey about two topics; the realities of his campaign call for greater mayoral action on the MTA and whether ratcheting up criticism of rival candidate Nicole Malliotakis reflects concern that she’s had some successes recently.

Continue reading Massey Hits The Upper East

Malliotakis On Cuomo & MTA



Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis has a generally positive view of Governor Andrew Cuomo, although she’s dismissive of his recent attempt to distance himself from the MTA.  Speaking Saturday during a visit to a reelection fundraiser held by Council Member Eric Ulrich, Malliotakis included several criticisms of Mayor Bill de Blasio in her comments on Cuomo and the MTA. Continue reading Malliotakis On Cuomo & MTA

Second Avenue Subway Preview



Second Avenue Subway Preview - 96th Street Station 12-22-16-11Governor Andrew Cuomo continued his Second Avenue subway pre-opening tour Thursday, with a preview of the 96th Street station.  Trains are not yet running, but the station is close to completion ahead of the expected January 1st opening.  Governor Cuomo, who effectively controls the MTA, has been on active round of site visits and unveilings as the line extension moves toward completion.  Cuomo was joined by local elected officials, including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congressman Charles B. Rangel and his successor State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Keith Wright, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Dan Garodnick.  Mayor de Blasio did not attend.

Second Avenue Subway Preview - 96th Street Station 12-22-16

Cuomo and Maloney along with MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast spoke to an audience jammed into the station entrance and did a walk-through of the station.

Photo Gallery:

Our full photo gallery is here.

MTA & Port Authority Tussles



In recent days Governor Andrew Cuomo has publicly engaged two of the massive transportation agencies he controls on hot button topics, demanding in an open letter that the MTA act to address a recent spike in sexual assaults reported as occurring on the New York City subway system and demanding answers from the Port Authority on a report that NYPD officials ensnared in a corruption investigation arranged for a special escort, with a lane closure, through the Lincoln Tunnel.

On the MTA, Cuomo began with a general discussion of the ongoing capital spending on the subway system and a declaration that “first and foremost mass transit has to be safe.”  He appears open to adding MTA police or State Troopers to the subway system, but left it open and subject to an MTA determination and possible request.  (The New York City Police Department, under the mayor, patrols the subway and is primarily responsible for law enforcement there.  The MTA Police is a force of about 700 which patrols the Metro-North and Long Island Railroads and the MTA’s bridges and tunnels.)   The logistical limitations of the the MTA Police and State Police seem to preclude any major such effort.  The overlay of the long-running Cuomo/de Blasio frictions would add an additional political layer of complications.  Cuomo did not respond to the portion of my question asking whether he views the NYPD’s performance in addressing subway system sexual assaults as inadequate.

I also asked Cuomo whether he’s determined if the news reports of a lane closure in the Lincoln Tunnel at the behest of NYPD officials now ensnared in a corruption investigation are accurate and, if so, what the  consequences will be.  The Lincoln Tunnel is run by the Port Authority and the Port Authority Police, a force wholly separate from the NYPD.  Any lane closure or other disruption would presumably require the actions or acquiescence of the PAPD. The bi-state Port Authority is controlled jointly by Governor Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has some familiarity with lane closures.

Cuomo does not yet have an answer on the alleged lane closure, nor a time frame for receiving one.  When asked for a time frame for answers Cuomo declined, saying only that while he wants an answer he does not want to interfere in an ongoing investigation.

Cuomo spoke with the press following an appearance in Staten Island promoting measures to combat opioid addiction.

Cuomo’s full press Q&A is here.

Cuomo Press Q&A: The Columbus Day Parade Edition



Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke with the press this morning just before the start of the Columbus Day Parade.  Appearing a few minutes and a few blocks ahead of Mayor de Blasio, Cuomo began with a long statement on the parade, Columbus Day, Italian-Americans and his own family.  He then answered questions on the recently announced agreement with the City on funding the MTA’s capital plan, including how an apparent logjam was broken, what it will mean for subway and bus riders and how he and Mayor de Blasio personally interacted in reaching this agreement.  When asked whether he had considered marching with Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo replied “you know, I normally march alone.”

de Blasio Press Q&A:  Mayor de Blasio’s pre-parade press Q&A is here.

Photo Gallery:  Our parade photo gallery is here.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Columbus Day Parade Edition



Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke with the press just before this morning’s Columbus Day Parade.  He began with a statement about his first town hall meeting, scheduled for Wednesday evening and intended to focus on tenant rent protections and the recent rent freeze.  Saying that “I know you guys are anxious to see the wonderful dialogue” the Mayor suggested that he will have additional town halls, adding that “you’re gonna see a lot of dialogue now and going forward.”

Question topics included the recent agreement with Governor Cuomo on funding the MTA’s capital plan and what New Yorkers should expect from the deal, whether he’s frustrated that many New Yorkers blame the City and the Mayor for MTA problems despite the fact that it’s a state agency controlled by the governor, what he would like the MTA to spend its capital funds on, a recent NYCHA report suggesting that drawing higher income residents close to NYCHA facilities harms NYCHA tenants, his relationship with recently indicted Nassau County businessman and de Blasio donor Harendra Singh, a REBNY lawsuit over a recently passed law restricting conversions of hotels to condo’s/co-ops, the Chase Utley slide which broke Ruben Tejada’s leg and his current relationship with Governor Cuomo.

Cuomo on NTSB Report Criticizing MTA



When asked for his reaction to a recent series of reports by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) harshly criticizing the MTA, Governor Cuomo said only that he has “not gone through it in detail” and that his “team is looking at it”.  As governor Cuomo effectively controls the MTA, although other elected officials also appoint MTA board members.

On Tuesday the NTSB released reports on five MTA accidents, with the NTSB chairman issuing a statement that “[s]eeing this pattern of safety issues in a single railroad is troubling.  The NTSB has made numerous recommendations to the railroad and the regulator that could have prevented or mitigated these accidents. But recommendations can only make a difference if the recipients of our recommendations act on them.”  Senator Charles Schumer is reported as saying that the NTSB “report represents a horror house of negligence.”

Public Advocate Candidates Debate, On-Air and Off



In what is likely the only televised Public Advocate primary debate, five Democratic candidates jousted on-air last week.  (Video of the full debate is available here from NY1.)  The race remains both close and out of the public eye, with the most recent public poll (from NBC 4 NY/WSJ/Marist) reporting that 49% of “likely” Democratic primary voters are undecided.  Of the likely voters who have a preferred candidate, it’s 16% for Tish James, 12% for Cathy Guerriero, 12% for Daniel Squadron, 3% for Reshma Saujani and 2% for Sidique Wai.

We spoke with all five candidates after the debate.  Exclusive video, and a short account of each candidate, follows: Continue reading Public Advocate Candidates Debate, On-Air and Off