Does the Working Families Party Deserve the NYC Transit Rider Vote?
Can any political party credibly claim to represent New York City transit riders in next Tuesday’s elections?
Well, we can safely rule out the GOP and any party that gives its ballot line to Carl Paladino.
Then there are the New York City Democrats, who have, if anything, been an even bigger obstruction to transit funding than Republicans the past few years, having stymied both congestion pricing and bridge tolls. Current standard-bearer Andrew Cuomo has done nothing to distinguish himself on transit in his policy platforms or his debate performance.
What about the labor-backed Working Families Party? The WFP is the most influential third party in New York right now (some might say the most influential party, period), using its coveted electoral ground game and ballot line, which Cuomo will benefit from on Tuesday, to advance its platform.
In this promo for the WFP, celebrity spokesperson Matt Damon holds up a MetroCard to symbolize how the party will stand up for working New Yorkers. Sorry Matt, but the WFP is a pretender on transit policy too. In theory, the WFP platform includes support for transit, but in practice, the party hasn’t delivered for riders. Silent on congestion pricing and a non-factor during the bridge toll debate of 2009, the WFP has done little besides shield lawmakers from accountability for allowing the recent rash of service cuts and fare hikes to unfold.
The WFP is trying to claim a mantle that it just doesn’t deserve.