Cuomo, de Blasio Continue to Swipe At Each Other Over Transit Funding
In an argument that's running faster than an express train, the mayor and the governor can't seem to find common ground on how to fund the city's mass transit system. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio took more swipes at each other than a MetroCard. They're at odds over how to fund a cash-strapped mass transit system.
First, the governor called NY1 to make the case for the city to kick in more for the MTA's five-year, nearly $30 billion program for system upkeep and expansion.
"You want to fix the MTA, you want to make the situation better, we have a plan. You have to pay," Cuomo said.
Then, de Blasio took to WNYC Radio to counterpunch.
"We've known for a long time there's been an imblance of payments, the city putting a lot more into the MTA than we get back," the mayor said. "I've also said there's been a bad history over the last few years of the state government taking money out of the MTA and putting it into the state budget."
The latest spat comes as Cuomo has pledged $8 billion in state money toward the Capital Program while pressing the city to put in $3 billon toward a transit system largely in the five boroughs.
De Blasio, though, contends that there won't be a bump in city funding unless City Hall gets more say over the state agency's finances.
"If the city wants more control, let them pay $8 billion. Then we'll talk about more control," Cuomo said.
This comes as the MTA faces a nearly $10 billion funding gap on its Capital Program. Cuomo says the city can help fill that hole by dipping into ample reserves.
"The city now, according to the comptroller, has one of the largest surpluses in history. And the city has a larger surplus than the state," Cuomo said.
Without full funding, Cuomo warned of slashing projects or higher-than-projected fare hikes.
"Neither is acceptable to me," he said.
It's a stalemate that's exasperated transit advocates.
"We want New York to get a better transit system, not to settle scores," said John Raskin of Riders Alliance.
"The city's been giving $100 million a year to the MTA's Capital Program since 1982," said Gene Russianoff of Straphangers Campaign." This isn't a deal the city's getting. It's a steal."
De Blasio says he first needs assurances that the state won't pick the MTA's pockets.
"We've got to see those issues resolved up front," he said.
However, the latest rhetoric from de Blasio and Cuomo would seem to suggest that any solution is still a ways off.