Five months ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio were mixing it up on a weekly basis over the poor state of the city's subways.
Delays and headaches continue to this day, but now Cuomo has a new target: the state legislature.
"This year I'm going to say to them this: 'In this budget, you're going to get a proposal on how to fund the MTA,'" Cuomo said at press conference with MTA Chairman Joe Lhota. "If they don't pass a law funding the MTA, then they are de facto voting for a fare increase."
That proposal is likely to be a revised plan for congestion pricing, which would charge vehicles a fee to drive into Manhattan during weekday business hours. The money raised could then be used to fix the subways, which will require major capital investments.
Last week, State Senate Democrats, led by Deputy Minority Leader Michael Gianaris of Queens, sent Cuomo a letter calling on him to include a funding mechanism for the MTA in the upcoming state budget.
The letter said, "The MTA needs a new vision to upgrade and modernize the transit system."
"For the legislators to now say, 'Well, it's Chairman Lhota's job to get Albany to pass a bill funding the MTA,' is a joke. It's a joke," Cuomo said at the press conference.
"We did not ask Joe Lhota to do anything. The letter was sent to the governor, who is certainly part of the budget process, saying that we want to work with him to make the MTA gets fully funded in this next budget process," Gianaris said.
Gianaris said the legislature shoulders only part of the blame.
"Remember: the legislature doesn't have appointees to the MTA board. So, when they make a decision to cut over a $1 billion in funding from subway signal fixes and new trains to put it into beautification of subway stations, including two in my own area of Western Queens, that is not the legislature," Gianaris said.
Cuomo is slated to give his State of the State address on Jan. 3. Asked if it would include tolls on the East River crossings, as it has in previous plans, Cuomo said to throw away that playbook because this will be something completely different.