City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn said that the city should be in charge of its own mass transit system in a speech at LaGuardia Community College Thursday morning.
Speaking in the Long Island City section of Queens, Quinn said she wants mayoral control of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board and a board member that represents the riding public.
The speaker said mass transit should be the engine for economic growth and having the city in charge of the MTA will ensure that riders will get the most for their money.
"The MTA chair is appointed by the governor. The mayor has a minority of the appointments on the MTA board. The majority of the new members are appointed by the governor and county leaders outside of our city," Quinn said. "This has resulted in an MTA that doesn't respond quickly enough to the needs of New Yorkers and the changing face of our city."
The speaker also proposed extending Metro-North Railroad and ferry service in the city, as well as increased Select Bus Service in the boroughs outside of Manhattan.
"You either can give up, or keep working and expand your coalition and keep working, and that’s what I'm going to do," Quinn said.
The MTA, which is currently run by the state, is not commenting on Quinn’s suggestions.
The other Democratic candidates shared the stage Thursday night for a debate at Queens College. Quinn did not attend.
Former City Councilman Sal Albanese used the event to go after some of his better known rivals.
"I'm baffled, quite honestly, by both Bills' positions," Albanese said. "Bill Thompson, his position has been all over the lot. Bill be Blasio turns public safety into political theater."
While former Rep. Anthony Weiner may be looming over the race, his name was never mentioned at Thursday's debate.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked about Weiner Thursday. He said it is up to Weiner to decide whether or not to run.
Bloomberg then urged the press to drop the story.
"There has got to be more important things than who runs or his history," Bloomberg said. "We have major problems facing this city. That's what you should be focusing on. Maybe they don't sell inches and minutes, but it seems to me that news organizations have an obligation to look beyond their bottom line and try to inform the public."