After Yet Another Subway Meltdown, Where’s Cuomo?

While he never misses a photo-op for a shiny new mega-project, Cuomo is "missing in action for the day-to-day disaster that transit riders are experiencing."

The governor celebrates his transportation infrastructure achievement by driving FDR's old car over the new Kosciuzsko Bridge. Imagery: @NYGovCuomo
The governor celebrates his transportation infrastructure achievement by driving FDR's old car over the new Kosciuzsko Bridge. Imagery: @NYGovCuomo

Straphangers were forced to deal with another chaotic commute this morning after a reported power outage at DeKalb Avenue triggered service interruptions affecting nearly a dozen subway lines.

It was the second major subway disruption in three days, and the fourth in three weeks.

Twitter was ablaze with photos and videos of packed platforms in Brooklyn and Queens:

Riders Alliance Executive Director John Raskin released this statement in response:

Subway service is starting to resemble the notorious dysfunction of the 1970s, and riders are asking: where is Governor Cuomo? Governor Cuomo shows up to open the Second Avenue Subway, but he’s missing in action for the day-to-day disaster that transit riders are experiencing.

Subway riders leave for work these days not knowing if or when they will actually get there. Any one incident can be explained, but in the aggregate it’s clear that subway service is deteriorating and that riders are increasingly miserable. There’s no way to fix this without the Governor’s leadership, and where is the Governor?

As the subway system declines, Cuomo continues to fixate on shiny mega-projects.

Two weeks ago, in the midst of a series of subway and LIRR breakdowns, the governor spent an entire day celebrating a new highway bridge. In between this week’s two subway meltdowns (so far!), he announced a design contract for his billion-dollar AirTrain boondoggle.

In a statement, Cuomo spokesperson Jon Weinstein cast the governor as a heroic savior:

Our commitment to the subways includes the largest Capital Plan in history — with more than $14 billion for New York City Transit alone — and nearly $4.5 billion this year in operating support. These problems were not created overnight but there is no one more dedicated to fixing them than Governor Cuomo.

This is disingenuous in several ways. Here are three big ones:

Cuomo has been governor going on seven years. He’s had more than enough time to assess the major problems afflicting the transit system and get to work on solutions. At this point, transit riders don’t need Cuomo to save them, they need someone to save them from Cuomo.

  • adamswagem

    the governor needs to be pushed into the tracks

  • reasonableexplanation

    dude wtf?

  • adamswagem

    he doesnt need to die he just needs to be pushed into the tracks. then someone can go down and get him out

  • BortLicensePlatez

    calm down.

  • JudenChino

    He needs to rely on transit like everyone else and see what a fucking disaster he’s cultivated. We don’t want WiFi/USB cables. We want reliable subway service. This has been NYC’s ace in the hole and our electeds just shit on it all day.

  • adamswagem

    i agree

  • Larry Littlefield

    NIMBY. Heard of NIMTO? “Not in my turn of office.”

    After years of future selling by Generation Greed across ALL public policies and in the private sector, any improvement would require more sacrifices in the short turn to benefit the long run — the opposite of the polices of the past 35 years. The policies of Cuomo’s generation.

    It is unfair to say Cuomo created this situation. In reality, he was the first Governor to add (a few dollars of) actual state cash to the MTA Capital plan since Cuomo. But in general, he hasn’t been willing to stand up to those who benefitted from the decisions that led to this mess, frankly describe how they have benefitted, and push for painful changes (more taxes, service cuts, a smaller gap between the compensation of those with connections vs. those without them).

    All of which would diminish his popularity and hurt his career. The fact that no one (else) complained when the goodies were being handed out shows why the game is what it is.

    When the can can no longer be kicked, the search for powerless victims begins. That’s when those who pillaged in the past say things like “let’s not talk about the past” and impose “painful choices” due to “situations beyond our control.”

  • reasonableexplanation

    Why would the governor of NY State have to rely on NYC transit? I mean at least when Bloomberg rode the subway every morning (after taking a car to the station) it made some kind of sense, given that he was the NYC mayor, but in this case…?

    Look, I don’t like Cuomo for a whole host of reasons, but the seething hate for the guy on this site is just ridiculous.

  • inky799
  • Larry Littlefield

    You bet. So Cuomo wants to slink away before the SHTF in New York, the way Christie is (a little to late) in NJ and Malloy is in Connecticut.

  • inky799
  • Fool

    Revenue, revenue, revenue!

    Effective and productive employees do not matter! They are voters! Give them a free check!

  • inky799

    What do you have to do to convince you that you are a part of GG. I forgot you are a hypocrite.

  • DM

    Wait a minute… why aren’t we talking about De Blahsio? Doesn’t he have a hand in all this? And what about that useless MTA? I’m not sure throwing more money at the problem will do anything when you’ve got a completely dysfunctional union running things anyway.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The data says I’m part of Generation Apathy.

    The people following Generation Greed who, on average, were left somewhat worse off (and not worse off if they were college graduates). And decided “we’re screwed anyway, so let’s just look out for ourselves and not worry about the collective future.”

    Didn’t vote, didn’t run, didn’t pay attention. And are now finding out the results. They are facing old age in poverty, with their children worse off than they are.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The big expenses are retirement benefits — not so much those accrued by current workers, which are expensive enough, but costs shifted to the present from the past. And interest on past debts.

    “Going after those” would either require bankruptcy, or some kind of massive inflation that diminishes their real cost relative to what transit riders earn.

  • Straphanger

    What exactly does the Assembly, Senate and City Council Transportation Committees doing about this? How about all the members riding the subway and not just for a photo shoot.

  • JudenChino

    When he’s in NYC, take the train. Is that too much to ask? Seething hate? I don’t know, he defunds the MTA, he blames everyone else, he champions the worst ideas . . . what’s there to like? Oh, and he championed the IDC so as to give the State Senate to the GOP. He shits on NYC as a way to get at his rival BdB.

  • JudenChino

    No, Cuomo controls the MTA, not BdB or the city.

  • comment flagged

    This was more than a typical subway disaster… it was caused by a “catastrophic failure” at a ConEdison substation (Farragut Substation on John St in DUMBO) that also had 3 fires between 2011-2013. This catastrophic failure leaked 37,000 gallons of oil into our waterways and shut down the East River to non-commercial traffic and caused extreme delays in the new Citywide Ferry service.

  • comment flagged

    the unions don’t appoint MTA board members. the Governor does

  • Eileen Jalet

    I feel bad for all you people who rely on the subway system. Oh wait…..did I say rely? Now there’s a rhetorical statement if I ever heard one. You pay your taxes and pay a lot of monthly for a monthly pass and everyday you must say to yourselves…….well, I wonder if things will work today? I wish I had an answer for you – pound on the doors of Albany and ask them!

  • inky799

    Kaka as usual but you make much more then the average teacher you should give back what you don’t deserve.

  • Andrew

    I’m as happy as the next guy to rag on Cuomo for underfunding the MTA, but if this was a ConEd issue, what do Cuomo and the MTA have to do with it?

  • Albanian

    I live in Albany. Please do not pound my door.

  • Eileen Jalet

    Lucky you! I’m from GF!

  • Mark

    Thanks for the sympathy, but I feel bad for all you people who drive. The monthly pass is cheap compared to the expense of owning and operating a car. Even considering how frequently problems occur, taking the train beats the pants off of sitting in traffic.

  • comment flagged

    Me too and they don’t with this particular issue. This is totally not the fault of MTA and the Governor. This is 100% the fault of ConEd