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Mayor, governor come together on MTA but walk apart at parade

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo marches in

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo marches in the 71st Annual Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan on Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. The Columbus Day Parade celebrates Italian-American heritage. Credit: Charles Eckert

With separate news conferences at the same Manhattan event, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday promoted a deal struck over the weekend on funding for Metropolitan Transportation Authority infrastructure projects.

"This is going to be the largest investment in the MTA in modern political history," Cuomo said before stepping off for the Columbus Day parade on Fifth Avenue. "It'll be a more pleasant experience for the rider, but it'll also be better for the economy."

The agreement allows for $26.1 billion over five years for the purchases of hundreds of new subway cars and buses and the completion of such projects as East Side Access, which promises to link the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal by 2022.

"We went from not close to close, that's what happened," Cuomo said of the time that elapsed between the harsh exchange of words among the frequent rivals Thursday and the announcement Saturday via news release that they had reached a compromise.

"The state stepped up to the plate, and I'm glad that the city stepped up to the plate," Cuomo said.

De Blasio told reporters at a different point in the parade route minutes after the governor spoke: "We said all along we were ready to make a contribution if we got a fair deal for everyone, and I think the state worked with us well to get to that fair deal."

The mayor agreed to increase the city's share to $2.5 billion from $657 million, with the city having greater say in how the money is spent and the state not diverting funds from the capital program. The state is to continue putting $8.3 billion toward the projects. The balance would be generated by the MTA.

De Blasio noted the caveats.

"There's a lot of good reforms and guarantees in the deal," he said.

De Blasio and Cuomo, Democrats who have feuded publicly over universal prekindergarten funding, the Ebola response and rent-law reforms, among other issues, did not walk together in the parade.

"I normally march alone," Cuomo said.

Neither official would detail how they came to the MTA deal, although when asked whether he and the mayor spoke about the negotiations, Cuomo said simply, "Yes."


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