NEW YORK — With public transportation facing new obstacles every day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced a bill Tuesday to give himself majority control of the MTA board.
Cuomo says it will give him the power needed to fix the system which, just today, caused commuters around the city to be late to work because of signal problems.
“You trust us to get you to where you need to be, and this morning, we failed to deliver,” the MTA tweeted.
Tuesday’s issue even caused a commuter to jump from his train and walk along the tracks after his F train was stalled for a half hour. New Yorkers have faced delays, derailments and power outages. Large portions of the public transit infrastructure are extremely dated.
“The MTA is in a state of crisis,” Cuomo said. “Historic underfunding leaves it with obsolete equipment going back to the 1940s. The bureaucracy is dysfunctional.”
Cuomo’s plan to change the agency’s bureaucracy would grow the MTA board by two voting members, both appointed by the governor. It would also give the board chairman – a Cuomo appointee – two votes.
His plan was introduced just one day before the state Legislature is set to end its annual session and it’s unclear if they plan to address the issue immediately.
If they do pass the legislation, New York State would gain a voting majority on the MTA board. There is currently no majority. New York State has six seats, New York City has four and Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Putnam have the balance of the Board’s seats.
“Some people assume the state’s six voting seats are the majority and say the state has control,” Cuomo said. “Obviously, six is not a majority of the 14 voting seats, and many issues generate controversy that can cause the other jurisdictions to defeat the six votes.”
The Governor cited his decision to take control of the Second Avenue Subway project as evidence that New York State needs more overall control of the MTA. The level of change needed will be impossible to under take without change, Cuomo said.
“We don’t have 10 years to do this,” he said. “The state will dedicate itself to the task and assume responsibility, but the state needs the authority.