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April 22, 2019

Cuomo trashes MTA in congestion pricing pitch to NYC business leaders

February 7, 2019
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Hans Pennink / AP / AP)

Gov. Cuomo vowed to rebuild the MTA from the ground up in exchange for a congestion pricing plan that would fund the beleaguered transit agency.

Cuomo trashed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to New York’s business class Thursday, calling it a bureaucratic “Frankenstein” that refuses to innovate — citing the L train shutdown as his “wake up call” to how the agency operates.

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“No more finger pointing. We need a dramatic increase in performance and innovation,” Cuomo said at the Association for a Better New York lunch. “We need progress and we need it quickly.”

The governor, who is responsible for the MTA and chooses its leadership, wants to consolidate his control of the agency that has bended to his will, particularly on the L train shutdown he averted with new construction techniques.

The reforms he’ll put in his updated budget proposal will be linked to congestion pricing fees in Manhattan that he proposed earlier this year. The fees will be in a “lockbox” that will be used for capital work.

Without it, he warned that fares and tolls would go up 30% to cover the repair work, as MTA officials have said.

“If we are to continue to grow we must be able to move,” Cuomo said. “We must have a functional regional transit system.”

Congestion pricing is gaining traction in Albany, where Democrats in the state Assembly are increasingly more open to the idea, insiders say.

“Clearly there needs to be some accountability for the MTA, but there’s much more room than even last year,” one source close to the negotiations told the Daily News.

With Denis Slattery

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