Cuomo: LIRR strike wouldn't be a disaster

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said July 15, 2014, that Gov. Andrew Cuomo said July 15, 2014, that should there be a transit strike it will be a pain, but not a disaster. This is the governor on July 10, 2014, in Syracuse. Photo Credit: Trish Hennessy

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday a Long Island Rail Road strike would be inconvenient but not a disaster.

The Democrat governor, who is up for re-election this year, said he still isnt sure if hell get personally involved in the contract stalemate between LIRR unions and the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Cuomo sought to distance himself from the issue a bit, saying it was between the union and the riders.

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But the governor tried to downplay the potential impact of a strike, which could begin this weekend. He said New Yorkers have lived through strikes before.

Look, disastrous? No, Cuomo said at an event in Schenectady. Look weve had strikes before, right, and weve survived. And weve had disasters. And we know what thats like. Hurricane Sandy was a disaster, and weve gone through other disasters. This is not a disaster. A real pain, maybe, but not a disaster.

The governor sought to deflect a question on how his hand-picked MTA leadership has handled the situation with the strike deadline looming.

It often gets pushed to the brink, and this is a major negotiation, Cuomo said. The LIRR is vital to Long Islanders. Long Island households do not have any additional funds to pay for increases in fares . . . So the MTA is saying we want to hold the line on fares, and we need to run the railroad. So were working within a budget and the union is saying they want additional funds.

 Cuomo said any resolution has to be fair.

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Remember the MTA doesnt have any money except for what the taxpayers and the riders give to the MTA, Cuomo said. This is a resolution, really, between the union and the riders.

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