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Cuomo the campaigner
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo stood before a friendly crowd Thursday, announcing a $13 billion plan to overhaul Kennedy Airport at a breakfast meeting of the Association for a Better New York.
But he took some target practice, too. He threw jabs at his current opponent, Marc Molinaro, without mentioning the Republican candidate by name, but saved most of his ammunition for President Donald Trump.
From the start, he reminded the crowd of Trump’s promises of $1.5 trillion for infrastructure improvements.
“You know what we’ve gotten? Nada, niente, nothing has happened,” Cuomo said. “We’re not going to wait for the federal government.”
Later, as he took questions from ABNY members, Cuomo also denounced Judge Brett Kavanaugh. From the back came heckles from New York GOP chairman Ed Cox. Cuomo, in response, called him “Mini-me Cox” — clearly linking the Republican leader with Trump.
After the event, Cox shot back, saying Cuomo “should have saved his trash talking for the campaign trail.”
Cuomo saved his biggest criticism of Trump for the president’s refusal to fund the federal portion of the Gateway Tunnel project. Trump, he said, seemed to be using Gateway as a “bargaining chip” over funding for a wall on the Southern border.
Noting that he and others have tried in-person meetings, letters and more, Cuomo said he’s planning to put together a video from inside the existing Hudson rail tunnels to send directly to Trump. That, he said, might show the president “a video of reality. It’s a tunnel. It’s going to collapse.”
Perhaps it’s a video Cuomo could save. After all, he might need campaign commercial footage in 2020.
Randi F. Marshall
From the archives: 1941 duel
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also told the Association for a Better New York that his next target is NYC subways and their overlord, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which in addition to its own dysfunction has been hampered by a succession of governors diverting funds from the agency to other needs.
These kinds of fiscal food fights have been waged in New York for decades.
This week in 1941, the Newsday editorial board ran dueling op-eds on a referendum before state voters that fall that would have allowed $60 million previously authorized by voters for eliminating railroad grade crossings to be diverted to parkway and road construction.
No surprise: On the “yea” side was master builder Robert Moses — to whom Cuomo compared himself in his ABNY remarks Thursday, saying slyly that his administration is building more than anyone has since Moses “in a more sensitive, community-friendly way.”
Representing the 1941 opponents was Charles Kimmich of the Association of Long Island Commuters Inc.
Moses argued that the diversion was necessary to pay for projects that clearly were needed. “With a few exceptions, they represent the extension of existing parkways to meet obvious traffic needs,” wrote Moses, neglecting to note that those existing parkways were also built by him.
Kimmich wrote that eliminating grade crossings would pay for itself economically, and the practice “speeds up motor traffic, eliminates all danger and at the same time increases efficiency of rail operations both in service and cost, and by improvements the rail carrier encourages a greater volume.”
Kimmich closed with a plaint that resonates with Long Islanders 77 years later:
“Nothing should occur which would momentarily or indirectly impair the faith of the general public in the soundness of future grade crossing eliminations.”
That sentiment was and still is true, but Long Islanders know that in the end, Moses won.
Testing, testing, 1, 2, tweet
The odds of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation were rising and dipping Thursday with the news cycle, bouncing around every time news broke of different senators reading the supplemental FBI report on sexual assault accusations.
At 5:30 p.m., gamblers were paying 84 cents a share for the proposition that Kavanaugh will be confirmed. They’ll be paid $1 per share if they’re right. The shares traded as high as 92 cents Thursday, and as low as 74.
But the big winners Thursday were those who bet North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp would vote against Kavanaugh. That proposition was trading as low as 35 cents early Thursday, but once she announced she could not support Kavanaugh, the price shot up to 99 cents, and trading on the proposition essentially ended.
One of the most interesting propositions offered is whether any Democrat will vote for Kavanaugh, and the odds are surprising. Essentially, 70 percent of the money is on yes.