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  • At Oversight Hearing, Council Members Seek Answers on MTA Funding and Operations

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    Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez (photo William Alatriste/New York City Council)


    At a contentious hours-long hearing held on Tuesday by the the City Council’s Committee on Transportation, Council members grilled representatives of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on the problems facing the city’s transit infrastructure and the challenges of finding both short- and long-term funding streams to adequately maintain and upgrade the city’s subway system.

    The hearing comes amid an increasingly testy fight between the city and state over the

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  • What About the Buses?

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    (photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA)


    Newly-minted MTA chief Joe Lhota held a press conference last week to announce a rescue plan for the city’s ailing subway system. The agenda includes signal fixes, maintenance work, new emergency response teams, and even rider communication shifts. Lhota’s blueprint comes with $800-plus million price tag, he said, which set off another round of feuding between Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo about how much the city and

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  • The Mayor’s Best Argument on Transit System Funding

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayor's Office)


    Governor Cuomo’s declaration of a state emergency after the Harlem subway derailment in June offered hope to suffering transit riders because it was an acknowledgement there was a crisis and the Governor was taking responsibility for addressing it.

    An emergency declaration in New York law requires an affected agency to develop plans to deal with whatever disaster the Governor has declared. After a review, new MTA Chair Joseph Lhota  proposed to spend an additional $450 million in maintenance

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, July 24

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    New York City Hall


    It's a relatively quiet week in New York politics. The City Council has only a few hearings scheduled this week after holding a full meeting last week where they passed a number of bills, including the 'Right to Counsel' bill to provide free legal services to low-income tenants in housing court.  

    Mayor Bill de Blasio is back at City Hall after spending a week in Queens

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  • Calls For Long-Term Solutions As City Transit Crisis Worsens

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    Governor Cuomo with MTA Chair Joe Lhota (photo: Governor's Office/Flickr)


    Two separate subway track fires on Monday, in the morning and evening, that led to stoppages on multiple lines and delays across the system were just the latest incidents that put the spotlight on problems with New York City’s subways. The last few weeks have seen chronic delays, a recent A-train 

    What's The [DATA] Point? 30 Days

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    What's The Data Point? Episode 5 -- 30 Days, with Jamison Dague, director of infrastructure studies for Citizens. [You can download What's The Data Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    For the fifth episode of What's The [Data] Point? we were joined by Jamison Dague of CBC, who discussed issues facing the city's subway system, recent announcements made by Governor Andrew Cuomo that relate to the MTA, CBC analysis of transit system problems, and what to watch for as the MTA enters its summer

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  • What's The [DATA] Point? $32.5 Billion

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    What's The Data Point? Episode 4 -- $32.5 billion, with Janno Lieber, the MTA's new Chief Development Officer. [You can download What's The Data Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    For the fourth episode of What's The [Data] Point? we were joined by Janno Lieber, the MTA's new Chief Development Officer who is one month into his work at the MTA, where he is overseeing major capital projects. Lieber discussed his mission, his initial work and the work that lies ahead, the general issues facing the city's subway

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  • 7 Transit Commitments Advocates Want From Candidates This Year

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    Transit advocates rally near City Hall (photo: Sam Raskin/Gotham Gazette)


    Activists from eight transportation advocacy groups gathered near the City Hall R train subway station on Thursday calling on candidates running for elected office in the city to adopt a seven-point plan to improve New York’s crumbling transit infrastructure.

    “We’ve put together the steps that New York City can take to make transportation work in New York,” said John Raskin, executive director of Riders Alliance, who led the news conference. The coalition released a four-page document titled, “...

  • How The Mayoral Control ‘Special Session’ Works

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    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    To prevent the lapse of mayoral control over New York City schools, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday called an “extraordinary session” of the state Legislature to convene on Wednesday at 1p.m. in Albany. Often referred to as a “special session,” details of how the day will unfold -- especially what legislation will pass -- are still unclear.

    Currently, the session has been called for just one day, with the only named purpose the extension of authority granted to the New York City Mayor, currently Bill

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  • New Jersey is About to Elect a New Governor. Why It Matters to New York

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    Governors Cuomo and Christie (photo: Governor Cuomo's Office)


    After competitive primaries, the New Jersey gubernatorial race is now between Republican Kim Guadagno and Democrat Phil Murphy. As the candidates head toward November's Election Day, New Yorkers may want to pay attention to the race and how each major party candidate might affect New York if elected.

    Given the proximity and relationship between the two states, particularly in relation to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the fact that New York's workforce includes many

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  • The Governor Cannot Duck Reckoning for Mass Transit Decline

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    (photo: The Governor's Office)


    New York’s mass transit riders are experiencing a serious and rapid decline in service. The negatives are palpable and documentable; ever-worsening delays are aggravating and angering the millions of New Yorkers who need the subways, buses, and commuter rail systems to move them around.

    A State Comptroller’s audit found on-time weekday performance for the subway system had declined from 80% in 2013 to 74% in 2014; the MTA’s investor disclosure documents show OTP declined to 70% in 2015, to 67% in 2016; and the MTA website

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  • Albany on the Penultimate Day of Legislative Session

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    The Capitol (photo: Ben Max)


    The lobby was packed with lobbyists. The Dunkin Donuts was humming. Food trucks lined the sunny street and appeared to be doing better than average business. Reporters were hungry for any tidbit of news.

    Assembly members and Senators bounced in and out of their respective chambers, where dozens of bills were voted through with astonishing speed. Negotiations on major pieces of more contentious legislation were held behind closed doors by the four most powerful people in state government, all men.

    The state Capitol building on

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  • With Subways in Crisis, It’s Showtime for Mayoral Candidates

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    (photo: The Governor's Office)


    Standing near a City Hall subway stop, Staten Island Assembly member and GOP mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis railed against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s handling of the city’s transit system and its state-controlled operator, the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

    At a podium set up just outside a 4 and 5 train entrance -- the same station that the mayor and his family emerged from for his inauguration on January 1, 2014 -- Malliotakis said last Friday that de Blasio has been ineffective and pledged that if she is elected

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  • De Blasio’s 'Piecemeal' Transportation Agenda

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    Mayor de Blasio on the subway (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor’s Office)


    Announcing the next steps of his citywide ferry service initiative at a recent press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is pleased with what his administration has done to improve transit options for New Yorkers, but admitted that he hasn’t put forth a coherent, comprehensive transportation agenda.

    Though transit experts have praised some of de Blasio’s moves to expand the city’s transportation network, many have also criticized

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  • Little Progress on Utica Avenue Subway Expansion

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    The new Second Avenue Subway (photo: Patrick Cashin/MTA)


    Two years ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio released a comprehensive plan for the city that included funding to study the expansion of a subway line on Utica Avenue, Brooklyn, one of the most crowded transit corridors in the city. The plan roused speculation among transit advocates and elected officials that funding for the much-needed subway line might eventually be in the pipeline, but with little movement on the study, some are beginning to doubt whether officials are truly

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  • Saying City ‘Can’t Afford’ ‘Fair Fares,’ De Blasio Points to State

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    Mayor de Blasio & First Lady McCray in the subway (photo: Edwin J Torres/ Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio says he supports the “Fair Fares” campaign to reduce public transit fares for low-income New Yorkers, but insists that the city cannot afford it and that the funding must come from the state.

    Both Tuesday during his preliminary budget presentation and Wednesday during an transportation-related press conference de Blasio was

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  • Cuomo Makes Transit a ‘Personal Priority,’ Advocates Want More Funding Details

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    Gov. Cuomo & MTA Chair Prendergast (photo: Philip Kamrass, Governor's Office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo has made mass transit a major focus of late, holding a series of events over the past year regarding airport redevelopment, railroad expansion, new transportation hubs and vehicles, and more. Early last month he described the Metropolitan Transit Administration (MTA) as a new “personal priority” and announced an effort to modernize the agency, beginning with the purchase of over 1,000 new subway

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  • Assessing the Aftermath: Top Takeaways for NYC from 2016 Albany Session

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    De Blasio and Cuomo in 2014; photo via The Governor's Office


    Mayor Bill de Blasio has made it clear that he feels like he’s often fighting for New York City’s interests against both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Senate Republicans, with Assembly Democrats as his key allies. In his initial statement reacting to the recent end of the 2016 legislative session in Albany, de Blasio put a thank you to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and company at the forefront, never mentioned Cuomo, and gave his take on what he assessed as a mixed bag

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  • New York City Interests Given Varied Priority in Three Albany Budget Plans

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    De Blasio & Heastie (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio didn't need to see the Assembly and Senate one-house budgets to know where he stands with each chamber - Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is a close ally of the mayor, his fellow New York City Democrat, while Senate Republicans hold a major grudge against de Blasio for leading a failed effort to boot them from the majority two years ago. Most Republican legislators, who control the Senate but not the Assembly, are also philosophically opposed to much of de Blasio's

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  • What To Do When The L Train Closes

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    Out of service (photo: MTA/Patrick Cashin)


    The denizens of Williamsburg and Bushwick have responded to news of potential multiyear L train closures with a mix of shock, despair, and irritation. People are talking through the alternatives: taking the G, J, and M trains; boarding the East River Ferry; or even (gasp!) riding the bus. Quite likely Williamsburgers will also summon a swarm of UberPools and Lyft Lines unlike any seen in our time.

    Hysterics aside, it’s unlikely that the MTA would do a full, year-long

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  • Cuomo Heads Into State of the State After Big Announcements, With More to Say

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    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    Governor Cuomo is going big. Decrying a state that has lost its ambition for transformative projects like the Erie Canal, the governor has spent the past week traveling the state and announcing major infrastructure, transportation, and economic development plans. Cuomo has also revealed new pieces of his $15 minimum wage campaign and criminal justice reform policies, among others, as he sets his agenda for 2016 and frames budget negotiations in Albany.

    So far, Cuomo has outlined 14

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  • Don't Be Seduced By Sexy Transportation Projects

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    Gov. Cuomo & his infrastructure plans (photo via The Governor's Office on flickr)


    We don't research and write about New York's rich transportation history because we get excited about subway tokens or World's Fair era subway cars. Rather, we seek out information to help us learn from both our past mistakes and accomplishments. The most important lesson that we have learned is that we can't backtrack on investing in our existing infrastructure.

    It's easy to be seduced by projects that expand subway and rail lines, but they can't come at

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  • Corruption, Elections Loom Over Lengthy 2016 Legislative Agenda

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    Cuomo (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


    Lawmakers returning to Albany this week to kick off the 2016 legislative session are faced with a litany of unresolved issues from last year and the spectre of the recent convictions of two former legislative leaders.

    Add to that impending elections for all 213 legislative seats, some of which will be critical for the future of state Senate control and the prospect of future indictments hinted at by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and you have a recipe for potential

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  • Time for the Mayor and the Governor to Work Together

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    De Blasio and Cuomo, via the Governor's Office


    They are elected to lead millions of people, to handle billions of taxpayer dollars, and to develop effective public policy. To be as effective as possible, they must work together.

    Yet, they barely speak to each other and won't even say each other's name in public.

    There is simply no way that the ongoing feud between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio isn't hurting New Yorkers. The behavior of the two men - New York City's top two elected leaders - is beneath the esteem

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, Dec 7-11

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    photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday 

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio signs legislation creating the city's new Department of Veterans' Services, via Joe Bello, @NYMetroVets

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