Cuomo to NYC: Eat My Dust, Plebes

Governor Andrew Cuomo says it’s up to New York City to fund his MTA — and indicated the city will have to do it without the funding mechanism that makes the most sense: the Move NY toll reform plan.

Even after coming up with an additional billion dollars or so, the MTA is still looking at a gap of close to $14 billion in the five-year capital program. If nothing is done to close the gap, New Yorkers can expect to pay higher fares as subways get more crowded and service interruptions become more frequent.

The MTA is a state agency controlled by Governor Cuomo. But Cuomo and state lawmakers failed to address MTA funding during this year’s legislative session. On Wednesday Cuomo said the city is on its own.

“The way you fill a gap is by providing resources to fill the gap,” Cuomo helpfully explained. “And that’s what the MTA has been asking the city. Can they help close the gap?”

On Tuesday, the de Blasio administration signaled that it is at least interested in Move NY, which would raise billions for transit while making bridge tolls more rational and reducing traffic in the Manhattan core.

But City Hall can’t make that happen on its own. Cuomo is the one official in New York who could put toll reform front and center. Nevertheless, on the issue of maintaining the transit system that keeps New York City alive, the governor characterized himself as a spectator.

“If you think that’s going to close the gap and that’s going to pass, then I think you’re going to be sorely disappointed once again,” Cuomo said.

Here, let us fix that for you…

“If you think I’m going to lift a finger to help New York City without getting something major in return, then I think you’re going to be sorely disappointed once again,” Cuomo said, before stomping the gas pedal of his cobalt blue Corvette and speeding off into the distance, engine roaring.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The MTA basically projected another real estate bubble, which is temporarily inflating real estate transfer and mortgage recording taxes, and projected it into the future.

    And before the TWU can go a strike for a 20/50 pension which will “cost nothing” again, they want to borrow against those fictional future revenues.

  • Larry Littlefield

    BTW, why does’t DeBlasio say something useful. Like city residents have suffered service cuts and squeezed in to pay for featherbedding and corruption on the LIRR?

  • dporpentine

    There are times when I question the intensity of my hatred for Andrew Cuomo. I mean, he’s probably done something that’s not purely an expression of political calculation that emphasizes hippie punching when at all possible, right?
    But then he opens his mouth and I know it’s him. Him and only him.

  • Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr.

    Imagine the political consequences of all of the New York City as well as the New York States when then are running for their own respective positions in the next three electoral years: 1) 2016 – All State Legislators except the Governor; 2) 2017 – All City Legislators including the Mayor; 3) 2018 – All State Legislators including the Governor. Who cares about campaign donors through unions? All U care about is millions upon millions of New Yorkers, both upstate and downstate are clearing angry at themselves while regretting voting for them. ????

    Disclaimer: I am a young about with a BA degree in History as well as a public transit advocate for three non-profit organizations. ????

  • Mark Walker

    He simply refuses to do his job. In any other walk of life it would get him promptly fired. He is no better than an employee at McDonalds who thinks he’s too good to make french fries. How does he get away with it?

  • Jesse

    You are giving him too much credit. He is the son of a politician. He was raised in a bubble of privilege purchased through political horse-trading. He has known nothing but politics his whole life. Andrew Cuomo is New York’s George W. Bush.

  • Bolwerk

    Does the city even need Cuomo’s permission? There are at least two possibilities:

    A) There was at least an argument, Streetsblog even covered it, that the city doesn’t need the state’s permission to implement CP. We asked to implement CP through a procedure called a home rule request, but maybe we didn’t actually need to.

    B) But okay, say that’s not possible without NYS Legislature approval. Say that MoveNY isn’t possible either. There is actual precedent for NYC tolling the East River bridges. It can probably toll any crossings it wants anywhere in the city that aren’t already controlled by the MTA or PA. It’s not as smart, or as fair, as Move NY or the Bloomberg CP plan, but it’s still far and away better than what we have now.

    If we end up with B, the state won’t say no for the same reason it didn’t say yes to CP. If the state did take action, it would likely result in a compromise that might very well look a lot like Move NY.

  • Andrew

    Someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe the city has the authority to establish a toll. Any new tool requires state approval.

  • Bolwerk

    Then I’m not sure what N.Y. VAT. LAW § 1642 (a)(4) could possibly mean:

    (a) In addition to the other powers granted by this article, the legislative body of any city having a population in excess of one million [that’s us], may by local law, ordinance, order, rule, regulation or health code provision prohibit, restrict or regulate traffic on or pedestrian use of any highway (which term, for the purposes of this section, shall include any private road open to public motor vehicle traffic) in such city. The provisions of section sixteen hundred shall be applicable to such local laws, ordinances, orders, rules, regulations, and health code provisions, provided, however, that such local laws, ordinances, orders, rules, regulations and health code provisions shall supersede the provisions of this chapter where inconsistent or in conflict with respect to the following enumerated subjects:
    1. Weights and dimensions of vehicles.
    2. Parking, standing, stopping and backing of vehicles.
    3. The prohibition or regulation of the use of any highway by particular vehicles or classes or types thereof or devices moved by human power.
    4. Charging of tolls, taxes, fees, licenses or permits for the use of the highway or any of its parts, where the imposition thereof is authorized by law.

    Even if that precludes CP or MoveNY, it looks to me like we have a massive amount of untapped power with which we could do whatever we wanted, like even mandate smaller cars than the USA average. Or put tolls wherever we want, even if they have to be the old school primitive Moses-era kinds.

  • Bolwerk

    BTW, the argument that we can’t unilaterally implement CP probably rests more on the fact that the MTA is a creature of state law and the city can’t control it.

    I see no reason why the Brooklyn Bridge can’t be tolled, with the revenue earmarked to the MTA, but I can see why the city couldn’t tell the MTA to lower the VZB toll to compensate.

    Though, if that argument holds water, I don’t see why the MTA board couldn’t simply lower the toll to compensate.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The two former heads of the two houses of the state legislature are under indictment. They just get other members of the tribe to replace them. People don’t pay attention.

    How many state legislators or city council members were voted out after the city went down the tubes in the 1970s?

  • Joe R.

    This sounds to me like NYC could decide to ban private autos or other classes of vehicles from the city altogether if it so choose. Good, let’s get on it, starting in Manhattan. Or at the very least, phase in a ZEV requirement. No reason people in this city should be choking on motor vehicle exhaust.

  • stairbob

    So based on #4, NYC can implement cordon-style congestion pricing like outlined in MoveNY. Then we tell the state, if you play along and lower the tolls on the outlying bridges, we’ll give a big chunk of cash for MTA funding. If the state says no, then we’ll just use the cash for a giant root beer and ice cream party.

  • Jesse

    I would look into that language at the end of clause 4: “where the imposition thereof is authorized by law.”

    That sounds like a potentially huge qualification that blows the whole thing up and is probably Albany’s justification.

  • JK

    On Monday (7/27) Cuomo will announce a new central terminal, train and high speed ferry for LaGuardia. Watch and see if any of that funding is from NYS government funds, MTA funds, or funds that could go to the MTA. Also, ask yourself why air travelers deserve a new terminal while bus travelers do not.

  • Bolwerk

    That’s why I posted it. But it must mean something.

    It could mean it’s allowed where it isn’t explicitly disallowed (e.g., an MTA crossing).

  • neroden

    How does he get away with it?

    His name. Andrew Cuomo got elected while not even showing up on time to the debate. Most voters thought they were voting for his father Mario, or thought he would be like his father. Which he isn’t.

    The whore was a better candidate and would have been a better governor. So was the ‘rent is 2 damn high’ guy. Next time, if Andrew is running again, I’m voting third party.

  • neroden

    Quite a lot, actually.

  • Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr.

    Thanks for your insight. ????

  • bm bp

    He’s a Democrat in New York. What do you expect?

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