Days after the MTA announced its plan to show city straphangers an improved subway system within one year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed the state would fund 50 percent of the initiative.
“Why? Because it’s smart. Mass transit is the city’s circulatory system. You slow down the subway system, you slow down the blood flow in this city,” Cuomo said.
The governor added that the funding to transform the beleaguered MTA begins “today.”
“There is no time for delay, and there is no tolerance for a lack of commitment on this issue. To me, this is black and white, New Yorkers need help, and they need it now,” Cuomo added. “That’s why we’re going to get to work today because subway riders are suffering, and subway riders are the hardworking men and women who are the backbone of this city.”
Before Cuomo’s announcement, Mayor Bill de Blasio sent out a statement asking if the governor would “return the $456 million the state siphoned from MTA riders since 2011” as a response to Albany asking for the city to help fund the MTA’s plan. The MTA has been operated by the state since 1981, when New York City was in fiscal crisis and could not afford the capital costs to run the subway system.
Cuomo also announced Thursday that corporations that donate at least $600,000 to subway station upkeep would get naming rights for said stations.
“We want the private sector as full partners,” he said.
While MTA Chairman Joe Lhota told the New York Post that details about station corporate sponsorships are still being ironed out, he did say the initiative would be akin to adopt-a-highway programs.
“Our city’s private and nonprofit sectors have expertise and resources that will supplement what government is doing, bring innovative ideas and expand support for the tough steps that are needed to modernize the system and generate more revenues,” Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of Partnership for New York City, said in a statement.
Lhota on Tuesday unveiled a two-part immediate action plan that would “attack” 79 percent of the most common causes of subway issues, including signal and track maintenance, car reliability, modernization, response time reductions and revamping the agency’s management.
To the last point, Gustavo Moscoso, a straphanger from Elmhurst, Queens, offered a suggestion to Lhota.
“Every member of the management team new and old must ride the subway to work during rush hours, a.m. and p.m., in order for them to earn their salary,” he told Metro via email. “If they do that, maybe we can get some quick results.”