Throughout her Democratic campaign for governor, Cynthia Nixon rode and talked about the subways and criticized how Gov. Andrew Cuomo handled of them.
"Delays have tripled under this governor, and it's not been a priority for him because he's never on the subways and it's not something that his wealthy donors care about," Nixon said June 1.
Angry commuters are venting on social media about the poor state of public transit in New York, but they did not take it out on Cuomo at the polls. It's leading some to question whether riders will see improvements anytime soon.
But Danny Pearlstein from the Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy group, says with Cuomo facing a general election challenge from Republican Marc Molinaro, subways are still on the table.
"Everyone knows the subways still doesn't work, and that the governor is responsible for them," Pearlstein said. "So that means it's a very live issue in the campaign no matter who is running."
Meanwhile, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson is jumping into the fray.
"I know you're angry about the subways, and I'm angry too," he wrote on Twitter this week. "I hope you'll fight with me."
As Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio argue over whether the city or state should split the subway repair bill, Johnson is proposing the city take over the transit system.
"He wants to be a train conductor now, Corey Johnson? I thought he just became speaker," the governor said last week.
Johnson is also considering having the city implement congestion pricing on its own. Drivers would have to pay a fee to enter parts of Manhattan, and the money would pay for public transit improvements. Cuomo says he supports congestion pricing, but the idea has gone nowhere in the state legislature.
"What we need to do is modernize the subway system, and what we need to do to do that is congestion pricing because we have to pay for the plan that is going to cost, as the MTA tells us, 10s of billions of dollars," Pearlstein said.
It seems like we are back to where we were before the primary campaign, with a subway system in dire need of help and an ongoing political fight over how to pay to fix it.
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