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Cuomo warns Legislature might not support MTA plan if city doesn't pay 'fair share'

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks at a news

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks at a news conference at his Manhattan office on Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

ALBANY - Radio talk shows, blogs, Twitter and tabloids are getting lots of spicy quotes in the fight over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, but the fight over funding isn't any closer to being resolved.

"We are not closer," Cuomo said Thursday. He said that if the city doesn't provide the $3 billion he thinks is the city's fair share of the MTA's much-needed capital improvements, the State Legislature might not be supportive of even a scaled-back plan for new subway cars, buses and station renovations.

De Blasio said he's concerned that if the city provides the $3 billion, the state will continue to raid MTA funds. The mayor's office said the Cuomo administration has taken at least $270 million in operating funds since 2011 to benefit the state's general fund.

Cuomo called that argument "a joke" in the latest installment of the feud between the New York's top Democrats.

"As the mayor has said for months," said de Blasio spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick, "The city is ready to do even more to help address the MTA's shortfalls, but not until we know that no more money will be raided from the transit system, New Yorkers are told where any new state money is coming from, and New York City's taxpayers have a real say in how their money is spent."

Cuomo said the only time the state took money was using $20 million of the state's $1 billion recent payment to the MTA to pay for some of the MTA debt costs. He said the state is committed to using $8 billion to improve the MTA.

"Reliability is an issue, comfort is an issue, cleanliness is an issue," Cuomo said. "It shouldn't be a torture to commute. It should be a pleasure to commute."

 

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