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2-day subway tour on track to gather riders’ feedback

Subway-rider advocate David Kelso holds a sign Monday,

Subway-rider advocate David Kelso holds a sign Monday, July 31, 2017, as city and state politicians announce an upcoming "Riders Respond Transit Tour." Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Subway riders will have the chance to unload their service complaints face to face with New York City elected officials as part of a two-day listening tour kicking off Thursday.

As state and city leaders continue to squabble over who should pay for repairing the city’s aging subway system, City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and state Assemb. Jeffrey Dinowitz announced Monday their plan to hold a “Riders Respond Transit Tour.”

“We believe the city and the state have to work together to try and address the problems of our mass transit system,” said Rodriguez, at a news conference outside a lower Manhattan subway station.

Rodriguez (D-Manhattan), Dinowitz (D-Bronx), and a coalition of other state and city elected leaders said they will travel the city by train Thursday and Friday compiling feedback from riders of the subway system. The tour will hit all of the city’s subway lines, and include a trip aboard the Staten Island Railway.

Rodriguez, chairman of the city council’s Transportation Committee, and Dinowitz, chairman of the assembly’s Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee, said they plan to use the information to get a more “complete” picture of commuters’ grievances. The results will be shared at a special city council hearing on the state of the city’s subway system scheduled for Aug. 8.

Dinowitz, without naming Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo or Mayor Bill de Blasio, said commuters were “fed up with the burden shifting” between city and state officials, and he hoped that the listening tour would illustrate the urgency for coming to an agreement on funding the repairs.

“There are many issues with our city’s transit including . . . platform overcrowding, fire causing trash on the tracks, derailments, and other problems that have combined to create the crisis we are in today,” Dinowitz said.

MTA chairman Joseph Lhota has called on the city and state to split the cost of his $836 million short-term plan to stabilize subway service. Cuomo has embraced the plan, and said last week the state would “immediately” make its 50 percent share available to start repair work, but de Blasio has balked at committing to an even split.

The mayor has argued that city taxpayers contribute a larger share of money to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, compared with other commuters in the region, and has taken issue with the city’s share of funding being used for other state projects instead of the city’s transit system.

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