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Nixon faults governor over NYC’s crumbling subway system

The actress turned activist is challenging Andrew M. Cuomo, who controls the MTA, for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Cynthia Nixon said Thursday, “our subway system is literally crumbling before our eyes,” blaming incumbent Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, whom she is challenging. (Credit: Newsday / Matthew Chayes)

Cynthia Nixon, the actress turned activist, said Thursday “our subway system is literally crumbling before our eyes” and blamed incumbent Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who controls the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Speaking beneath a busy subway station’s ceiling that partially collapsed a day earlier, the “Sex and the City” actress said she would prioritize upgrading stations like Borough Hall, which trains had to bypass while workers repaired and cleaned up Wednesday’s mess.

“What will it take for the governor to act?” Nixon said, adding: “We need to rescue our subways. We need to start now. We can’t wait any longer.”

The ceiling had been patched up by Thursday.

Two-term Cuomo’s stewardship of the subways — worsening delays, failing infrastructure, soaring costs — has posed a liability for the governor in New York City, where nearly 6 million people ride the trains every weekday.

Cuomo has said he supported the Fast Forward plan, proposed by the head of the subway system, to fix the subways at a cost of $19 billion.

With less than three months until the party’s primary, Cuomo holds a 35-point lead among likely voters over Nixon, 61 to 26 percent, according to a poll by Siena College in recent weeks.

The MTA, which is responsible for the subways, has begun implementing a Cuomo-backed bailout plan, half funded by city taxpayers and half by the state.

Nixon has sought to harness the subway issue by holding events in the subways and criticizing Cuomo.

Nixon has committed to modernizing the Depression-era signaling system and replacing subway cars that date to the 1960s and 1970s — within 10 years.

She also is proposing a congestion-pricing plan to charge owners of cars and trucks that drive into the Manhattan central business district. Revenue raised from the plan would lower tolls on certain crossings. Cuomo has said he supports congestion pricing.

Nixon’s rush-hour event was at the Borough Hall platform for the 4 and 5 lines, where on Wednesday the ceiling partially collapsed, injuring one person.

Nixon said she thought New York City Transit head Andy Byford is doing a good job, but she would broaden the number of stations targeted for an overhaul beyond a focus on Manhattan (where statistics say most commuters travel, regardless of residence).

“We can’t just completely ignore the Bronx, for example,” she said.

Nixon also has proposed to fund transit with a so-called millionaire’s tax, which would actually apply to incomes starting at $300,000.

In a statement, Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Abbey Fashouer said: “We share Nixon’s frustration with the delay of much needed subway repairs — she should call her friend the mayor and ask why he refused to fully fund the subway action plan for nearly a year.”

Earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio grudgingly agreed to partly fund the plan after the state threatened to take the revenue from the city. De Blasio had objected to funding the plan because he said Cuomo had previously raided money meant for subways to be used for nontransit purposes.


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