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Quinn pushes for more mayoral input in MTA

Christine Quinn

Christine Quinn (Credit: Christine Quinn (Getty Images))

Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn wants the city to have more control and power when it comes to shaping the future of mass transit.

In a speech at LaGuardia Community College on Thursday, the City Council speaker announced a plan that would give the mayor control of the majority of the MTA’s board.

In addition to appointing more board members from the five boroughs than Long Island and upstate, the proposal would make the mayor, not the governor, able to nominate the head of New York City Transit.

Quinn said 90% of the MTA’s ridership comes from the city and residents needed more of a voice.

“When you’re on a board and you represent the city, you will have a laserlike focus on the mass transit of the five boroughs,” she told amNewYork following the speech.

The current 21-member MTA board has four members chosen by the mayor.

Changing the way members are nominated would need approval from the State Legislature.

Quinn also proposed an expansion of the select bus service program, more frequent Metro-North trains and a ferry service boost.

An MTA spokesman declined to comment. While the governor’s office didn’t return phone calls for comment, a spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he would review Quinn’s proposal.

GOP mayoral candidate and former MTA chief Joseph Lhota criticized Quinn’s vision, noting most of her plans, such as the bus line expansion, were already proposed by the MTA.

Gene Russianoff, a spokesman for the Straphangers Campaign, said making changes is easier said than done. “I can’t dispute [the argument] that getting Albany to act on it would be very hard,” he said.

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