By this point we should be almost half-way through the MTA summer of hell in transit speak. As New Yorkers, and commuters, we just can’t seem to get enough of MTA news. So if you haven’t heard the big news, it’s that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo made a trip to Washington. It’s a rare occurrence and truly highlights the importance of the nation’s most used commuter hub.
Let’s face it–Cuomo is facing intense public scrutiny on the state of New York City’s deteriorating subway system, and his lack of action in regards to fixing it. Plus, there is the ongoing argument with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio over the City’s transportation needs and who will be paying for it. Reports indicate that it’s not only transportation the group will be talking about–taxes and healthcare are also purportedly on the agenda–although we can’t help but note that the transit crisis is a big issue that no one seems to know how to solve.
Did you hear that the MTA chairman, Joseph J. Lhota, recommended removing seats from some train cars in order to cram more riders aboard? There is no way in the world that could ever be considered a good idea. Perhaps Mr. Lhota should try riding the LIRR during rush hour. No doubt he, like we, will end up standing while getting sandwiched between a few strangers for 45 minutes–after being told that the 3 trains before that train have been canceled. The image of angry sardines comes to mind…
But back to politics. The Washington DC meeting was held with Democratic members of the New York congressional delegation and the transportation secretary, Elaine Chao. According to reports, Cuomo discussed infrastructure needs with Ms. Chao, including the Gateway project, which we blogged about several times over the past few weeks. You’ll remember that the Gateway project–which would create a new rail tunnel between New York and New Jersey–has been delayed for quite some time (together with some other major New York infrastructure projects, like East Side Access).
What comes out of the meetings remains to be seen. We hope it will be something productive, since that the governor has not been Washington, D.C. to lobby the federal government in more than four years.