Critics Call on Governor to Ease MTA's Budget Woes

The price of the transit fare has gone up while the quality of service is down, leaving critics to call on the governor to pull the Metropolitan Transportation Authority out of its funding hole. NY1's Jose Martinez filed this report.

Governor Andrew Cuomo was front and center in July, when he brokered the deal that averted a strike on the Long Island Rail Road.

He was center stage with more good news in September, showcasing the rebuilt R train tunnel that had been flooded by Hurricane Sandy.

"I've never run into Andrew Cuomo on the R train before so it may have been a first for him," says Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign.

On Wednesday, transit advocates accused the governor of being there for the good times, but not for the bad—which have left the Metropolitan Transportation Authority short $15 billion for the program that funds system improvements.

"We're here today to say to Governor Cuomo and our legislators in Albany to do their part," says Nick Sifuentes of the Riders Alliance.

"It's his system. He appoints the 17 member board of directors of the MTA and he really determines whether they're going to get this $15 billion or not that they say is needed to fix the system," Russianoff says.

To make the point that the MTA is an agency controlled by Cuomo, transit advocates brought a prop.

"We'd like you to consider renaming the MetroCard the CuomoCard, " Russianoff said in the meeting.

The theatrics were not appreciated by the governor.

"If they're resorting to performance art, at least make it good performance art," his spokesman said.

With funding for the next Capital Program still up in the air, however, advocates say riders need a champion in Albany—especially when the state is sitting on billions of dollars from legal settlements.

What about the city? Sure, Mayor Bill de Blasio is committed to improving bus service and creating a citywide ferry service, but what about the larger issue of funding for the MTA?

Mayor de Blasio went to Boston on Monday to say that he'll push Washington for more transportation money for New York. He said nothing about the MTA or increasing the city's funding for it, which essentially has stayed flat for 25 years.

Without investing in infrastructure, though, de Blasio said the country risks falling behind.

Falling behind and running late—concepts subway riders know too well.

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