Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro unveiled his long awaited proposal for overhauling the MTA, holding a City Hall press conference this morning. It’s an enormous task that involves complex construction and engineering challenges as well as managing the logistics and politics of transit disruptions, all at a huge cost. Dissatisfaction with the MTA, especially the subway system, has boiled for the past couple of years and poses both a real challenge to the City’s well-being and to the political fortune of Governor Andrew Cuomo. There’s opportunity for Molinaro, but as a non-City pol he faces a large challenge in convincing City and New York City suburban voters that he’s the best choice to repair and expand their transit systems.
Mayor Bill de Blasio moved to increase public awareness of the coming L train shutdown and of the City’s current plans for ameliorating the significant transit disruptions expected from the shutdown. With the shutdown scheduled to begin in April and last 15 months as major repairs are made to the East River tunnel for the L, the Mayor headed to Brooklyn Tuesday to move forward in preparing for it.
Mayor de Blasio began his outing by riding the L train from Union Square to the site of his press conference, at the corner of Grand Street and Bushwick Avenue in Williamsburg. He then held a press conference with Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and Council Members Rafael Espinal, Antonio Reynoso, Stephen Levin and Ydanis Rodriguez.
Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon continued her campaign focus on the subway, visiting the Upper West Side’s 72nd Street station for a brief press conference and some voter contact Tuesday.
Governor Andrew Cuomo visited the MTA’s 207th Street Overhaul Shop to tout his “Subway Action Plan.” Now fully funded through a state budget provision that forced New York City to provide half of the required funding, the Subway Action Plan is intended to address some of the myriad problems facing the subway system. Among those accompanying Cuomo was MTA Chairman Joe Lhota and TWU President John Samuelsen. A post-tour press conference included Samuelsen attacking Mayor Bill de Blasio as Cuomo stood stone faced.
Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis received a third union endorsement today, as the MTA Police Benevolent Association endorsed her in a press conference at Grand Central Terminal. Malliotakis’ two other endorsements are also police unions, the NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association and the New York State Troopers PBA.
MTA PBA President Mike O’Meara cast their endorsement as choosing to side with Governor Cuomo in his continuing conflict with Mayor de Blasio, saying that Malliotakis “unlike Bill de Blasio truly cares about working with our governor to fix the problems that are affecting the MTA.” He referenced the “homeless epidemic” and the untreated mental illness that many of the homeless people his members deal with on a daily basis suffer from, lauding Malliotakis as focused on addressing those issues.
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.
Here is the full press conference:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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
Governor 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.
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.