Andrew Cuomo Is Failing at One of His Most Basic Tasks

Andrew Cuomo in his natural habitat.

In 1981, then-MTA Chair Richard Ravitch wrote to Governor Hugh Carey, pleading for action “to meet the increasingly desperate situation of public transit in New York.” Carey responded by moving a suite of measures through Albany that led to the MTA’s first five-year capital program. Investments made through the capital program brought the transit system back from the brink, leading to vast improvements in reliability and convenience, and the city flourished.

The problems the transit system faces today are urgent in a different way. Having absorbed nearly all the growth in travel as New York City added a million residents in about 20 years, it is bursting at the seams. Weekday subway delays related to overcrowding rose 65 percent this April compared to last April, and weekend delays are up 141 percent, the Daily News reports.

Reliable transit service matters to New Yorkers of every economic class. Without it, New York cannot grow. Other than the occasional vanity rail project and withering remark about the agency’s “bloated” capital program, Cuomo doesn’t seem to care.

Now should be the time when the governor steps in with a plan to make transit service more frequent and predictable. The MTA capital program has to be renewed, and it’s the end of the session in Albany. If not now, when?

But on Cuomo’s agenda, ensuring that New Yorkers have access to a transit system with well-maintained track, modern signals, and reliable service ranks somewhere below catching two violent felons and upstaging Bill de Blasio on housing policy.

Since Carey and Ravitch ushered in the first MTA capital program, we have 34 years of proof on the ground that the health of the transit system underpins the health of New York City. And it’s deteriorating on Cuomo’s watch.

  • Ben_Kintisch

    But did you see the gee whiz new tappan zee bridge? I heard it’s going to be super duper big and paid with magic money!!! The future!

  • Alexander Vucelic

    if tolls had to cover the cost of the new TappennZeeBridge they would be $20 !

    Mass Motoring is obscenely subsidized in this country.

  • AlexWithAK

    Transit fares go up and up and Cuomo does nothing. Tolls on the NYS Thruway going up? No way, Cuomo to the rescue!

  • BBnet3000

    Last I heard there was no magic number where the bridge could be paid for by tolls. $20 tolls would mean fewer people driving over the bridge, and still wouldn’t pay for it.

    They’ll probably end up ditching the second span. The first span replaces the cars-only first span in kind anyway.

  • Larry Littlefield

    And yet the state legislators that caused the disaster that Cuomo refuse to face are exempted from criticism, let alone elections.

    So who here that is a Democrat in a Democratic district, or a Republican in a Republican district, has filed all the required signatures (in fact a multitude thereof given that they will fact bogus challenges in court) to get on the ballot? There are a few days left.

    Nope? Well, you can file three times that many and get on the ballot as an independent. That process starts July 7. I’ll be happy to sign.

    The laugh at you. Even though I stood up and did, although as I’m sure you’ll all agree I’m not exactly a politicians, and they still laugh at me. And they don’t care. Only about those organized interests that can actually challenge them.

    This is not a democracy. Votes don’t matter. Money, signatures and lawsuits (legit and bogus) do.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    exactly – a tiny minority of drivers are willing to pay the real
    cost of driving. Plenty want their driving to be lavishly subsidized by others, but balk at the real


He's the boss. Photo: Flickr/NYS Governor's Office

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