On The Issues Part 3: MTA Is Candidates' Common Enemy
The governor holds tremendous sway over transportation in New York State, but this year mass transit and transportation have not been at the top of the agenda. NY1's Josh Robin discusses the divergent positions in this third report on issues in the gubernatorial race.
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Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino are rivals for the governor's seat, but they share a common enemy: the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
"We have, without question, one big beast that keeps sucking up money," said Paladino during the televised debate on October 18.
"It's another example of a government that's inefficient, wasteful, and a government that doesn't get it," said Cuomo during the same debate.
The MTA is a convenient and popular punching bag. The agency runs transit in New York City and suburbs, but is run by the governor.
Both men want more power. Cuomo wants more board seats, which is all the easier to slim it. Paladino declares he would gut the agency, audit it and fold it into his cabinet.
Paladino also wants to end a key MTA tax source -- a New York City regional payroll tax.
Cuomo said it should be revisited.
As for congestion pricing, Paladino is opposed. Cuomo is open to discussion if Mayor Michael Bloomberg raised it again, but adds he does not think it would pass.
On keeping Jay Walder as the MTA's chief, Cuomo will not say. Paladino says he'd give Walder a pink slip.
Cuomo advocates for high-speed rail connecting New York City to Albany and Albany to Buffalo. Paladino wants to study it and maybe expand it.
On mass transit, that much is clear about where the Democrat and Republican stand.
On roads and bridges, Cuomo says he wants to keep the state as a leader in infrastructure, but his lack of specifics has some wondering how he'd pay for it."
Cuomo does call for an infrastructure bank, but Paladino does not.
No matter how they get the money, state's transportation needs are huge. More than a third of the highway bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, although officials stress they close unsafe bridges to traffic.
Cuomo backs renovating the Tappan Zee Bridge, which was not built to accommodate the thousands of vehicles that cross it. The shoulders are too narrow and there is no dedicated space for mass transit.
Cuomo has not said what the renovation should be, or how New York will afford it.
Paladino says another bridge may be needed, but not now. His first priority is reducing construction costs and slashing tolls.