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.