Decorative tiles are way more important that needed subway repairs, right?!
It’s no secret that New York City’s subway is a mess and needs repairs. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has no money, but that didn’t stop Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo from forcing it to use $30 million on tiles.
The New York Post reviewed documents that show the MTA “ordered white tiles to reline the Brooklyn-Battery and Queens-Midtown tunnels after Superstorm Sandy.”
Okay, I can understand that. You need walls, right? Well, that wasn’t good enough for Cuomo:
The governor got wind of the plan — and insisted that the cash-strapped transit agency add stripes of blue and gold, thinking nothing of the additional $20 million to $30 million cost, according to sources and project documentation.
“The white tile had already been ordered, but he insisted that [the walls] be in the state colors,’’ a top construction executive told The Post.
I feel like I’m watching the Parks & Recreation episode where Pawnee has to absorb Eagleton due to the former’s free spending.
The MTA board is not thrilled:
The move now has some on the MTA board seeing red. “We could have found much better uses for that money — especially because most people are speeding through the tunnels and not paying attention to what is on the walls,” seethed board member Andrew Albert.
A second member added, “This is exactly the type of distraction, expense and use of the MTA by the governor as a marketing tool that is at the root of many of our problems.”
To make matters worse, the order from Cuomo in November 2016, months before New York City’s “Summer of Hell.” The need for repairs caught up to the city and the MTA had to throw out $800 million to make emergency fixes.
The New York Times reported today that one year later the subway remains dismal:
Long delays continue to upend New Yorkers’ lives. Trains are still breaking down at an aggravating pace. Signal equipment dating to the Great Depression repeatedly wreaks havoc across the system, which sprawls across 665 miles of track and 472 stations — the most stations of any subway in the world. With a daily ridership of more than 5.5 million, New York’s subway is the most heavily used rail system in the country.
The authority’s own statistics are a mixed bag: They show minor progress in some areas, but no major boost in reliability, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on repairs. The on-time rate for trains hovers near 65 percent on weekdays — about the same as a year ago and the lowest rate since the transit crisis of the 1970s, when graffiti, breakdowns and violence plagued the system.
“All I see is the construction, but I don’t see the extra improvement,” Chance Shealey said on a recent afternoon as he rode a D train through the Bronx.
New York City Patch wrote that people “faced delays on six subway lines Monday morning after two trains were halted at major transit hubs.”
For awhile now Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have passed the blame on the decrepit system on each other. In August 2017, NYC Streets Blog noted the different infrastructure projects Cuomo threw money at, but still insisted that the city and de Blasio had to to fix the system…even though one of those projects included “$200 million on choreographed light displays on MTA crossings.”
Cuomo amped up the threats against de Blasio a few weeks ago and demanded the city pay $18 billion, but officials disagreed:
City officials said the governor’s request is ridiculous.
“After failing miserably to secure a sustainable revenue source, we knew the governor would be back for more,” said de Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips. “The mayor has contributed a record amount bailing out Governor Cuomo’s subway mismanagement. Rather than constantly asking for more from all our riders and taxpayers, the governor should pass a millionaire’s tax to fix the trains he’s run into the ground.”
Transit advocates skewered Cuomo’s statements, saying he’s not taking responsibility for the subway.
“Governor Cuomo controls the MTA. He also dominates the state budget process, the only legal mechanism that can raise the tens of billions of dollars it will take to fix the subway,” said John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance. “The MTA now has a modernization plan but the governor still hasn’t put forward a funding plan for the Legislature to vote on, and riders continue to suffer through regular breakdowns and delays.”
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