Cuomo Seeks Total Control Over The MTA

January 14, 2019 - 8:59 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Gov. Cuomo thinks the MTA is dysfunctional and that its power-sharing structure is broken, so he wants to take total control of the struggling transit agency.

A statement from the governor’s budget director on Sunday urges the state Legislature to give the governor the majority of board appointments, sole veto power and the ability to hire and fire.

Cuomo has already been hinting at a change. Earlier this month he said: “This year we have to take the bull by the horns with the MTA.”

The governor is also pushing for congestion pricing “so the MTA has the funding it needs,” with the city and state paying for the remaining debt, 50-50.

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Critics of the governor think it’s a power grab and they wonder why the city would want to relinquish its control while paying more.

The governor is expected to elaborate on his plan during his annual budget address on Tuesday – the same day he called for an emergency board meeting to talk about his changes to the L line repair project.

The Legislature created the MTA structure back in the 1960s to prevent the concentration of power with any one elected official. Board appointments are made by the governor, the mayor and six county executives.

Mayor Bill de Blasio for his part has said that “there are a lot of solutions on the table,” including congestion pricing, a new Transportation Bond Act and revenue from legal marijuana.

Meanwhile, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson is floating his own plan for the city to take control of the buses and subway.

“The exact details on the mechanisms on how to get that done is something I will release in the next 60 days,” Johnson said.