Is Gov. Cuomo looking to gain complete control of the MTA, or trying to prove he shouldn’t have it?
By all accounts, the agency is moving ahead with Cuomo’s new plan for fixing the L-train tunnel. That’s a clear sign the gov already controls it, since Tuesday’s meeting of the board was a near-nonstop session of independent-of-Cuomo members expressing serious doubts about the shift.
This, after the gov has spent the last two weeks blindsiding and/or publicly dumping on the people he himself has put in charge of the agency.
First, he dropped his new L-repair plan in a press conference, surprising (for example) New York City Transit chief Andy Byford, who told reporters just hours before the event that he had no idea what was coming.
Even now, Byford says he’s working with outside experts to confirm that Cuomo’s plan will work safely and well. He hopes to know before the Jan. 24 board meeting that’s to feature an actual vote on the shift.
The public would feel a lot more confident if the vetting had been done before any public announcements. Did the gov just feel compelled to win instant headlines?
Since then, he’s intoned about a “transportation-industrial complex” that really controls the agency and slammed the MTA for failing to think outside the box. The medicine it really needs, he says: “Blow it up.”
Then, too, he bragged in his State of the State Address about the $8 billion in new capital funding he’s provided the MTA. Yet, as Politico reports, his actual budget documents talk of freezing $7 billion of that until the Legislature agrees to his (still utterly vague) plan to reform the agency, and to impose new “congestion pricing” fees on city drivers.
The gov has long hinted at MTA reform: “There’s no doubt that we have to make changes at the MTA and significant organizational changes,” he told The Post last year. By now, he should be able to give details.
Sorry: His talk of “consolidation” as the cure sounds like utter snake oil, like vowing to balance the federal budget by eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse.”
The L-train switch may yet prove a brilliant move, and MTA reform could be productive. But Cuomo’s doing a rotten job of selling his ideas.
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