Mayor Bill de Blasio is just like us. He rode the subway on Wednesday (his first ride in two months) and he is ready to fight for the common man: If the MTA can’t fix the subway system, the city will.
Them’s fightin’ words.
“I’d say if the MTA can fix the problem, that is the optimal solution,” the mayor said, the New York Post reported. “If the MTA will not fix the problem, I’d rather have the city of New York run it.”
The MTA countered.
“There is no mystery to maintenance – it’s funding,” MTA Director of Communications Beth DeFlaco said. “We have the plans, but we need the money, and we need the city to pay their fair share of operating funds because their shortchanging mass transit is shortsighted for New York. The mayor should learn from the Penn Station collapse.”
De Blasio also said on Thursday he intends to be more vocal about mass transit issues and to ride with the straphangers more often. De Blasio typically called mass transit issues a problem for his frenemy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo appointed the majority of the MTA board members, and de Blasio said shifting the power to the city isn’t in the near future.
“I have been doing it. I’ll be doing it more because I’m going to be focusing on the subways more,” de Blasio said, the Post reported. “I’ll be out there, but much more important than that is, again, we’re going to be pushing for a plan [by the MTA].”
When asked if Cuomo should take a ride in NYC’s underbelly, de Blasio said the governor would have to “make that decision for himself.”
Metro reached out to Cuomo’s office, but as it was past normal business hours, no response has yet been given.
De Blasio’s words come one day after he experienced firsthand the woes of the city’s commuters.
While waiting for a C train, the mayor let two packed trains pass before hopping on the third, the New York Post reported.
“He experienced the deep frustration that everyone is experiencing,” City Hall spokesman Eric Phillips told the Post.
“What we know to be 100 percent, unequivocally true is that we have a major problem on our hands,” Comptroller Scott M. Stringer told us. “Transportation connects us all, and when the subway breaks down, it hampers our economy, our quality of life and the entire city as a whole.”
Staten Island Assembly member and GOP mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis said she was glad to see de Blasio “experience our city’s subway crisis.”
Last week, Malliotakis called de Blasio ineffective and said that, if elected, the city will invest in the mass transit system.
“The mayor cannot keep pointing fingers – he needs to take responsibility for the subway system that runs through his city,” she said, the Gotham Gazette reported.