Gotham Gazette

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Janno Lieber on the State of the MTA

    MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber, with Governor Hochul (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)


    June 22, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: CEO Janno Lieber on the State of the MTA

    MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber joined host Ben Max for a conversation at an event hosted by Citizens Union and Citizens Union Foundation (publisher of Gotham Gazette). First, opening remarks by Lieber about the state of the MTA, particularly its New York City subways and buses, then the interview with Max about a wide variety of issues including subway service improvements, congestion pricing, MTA

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  • Experts Analyze Future of New York City's Central Business Districts

    At the stock exchange (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on New York City’s core Central Business Districts – particularly Midtown Manhattan and Lower Manhattan – which are home to the businesses and industries that are the biggest drivers of the city’s economy.

    The lockdown and stay-at-home orders forced by the pandemic changed the nature of work in the city and beyond, and though the office sector – including the information, financial and real estate, and professional and business services industries that occupy so much of the space

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  • How the Next Phase of the Second Avenue Subway Can Build a Better East Harlem

    A groundbreaking in East Harlem (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


     

    (Housing projects and tenements surround the $6 billion Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 planned route (MTA Capital Division))

    Plans are advancing rapidly for the 1.5 mile Second Avenue (Q) Subway from 96th to 125...

  • High Hopes for New Era of MTA Transparency

    Subway riders (photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA)


    In October 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Open Data Act, sponsored by Senator Leroy Comrie and Assemblymember Robert Carroll. Hochulsaid the law will require MTA data to be “properly available for constituents to read

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  • New York’s Endangered Subways

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    On the subway (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    My friend and I had left the theatre on 42nd Street around 11 p.m. on a recent beautiful night. We walked peaceably to catch our usual #1 train at Times Square—the station where a young woman, Michelle Go, had been pushed to her death in front of a train by an apparently deranged, homeless man just days earlier.

    The platform was packed but the train, also packed, came quickly. Almost immediately we sensed something was wrong, as people shifted uncomfortably and looked to the

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  • Key Considerations as the MTA Restarts Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign

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    Boarding the bus in Brooklyn (photo: MTA/Patrick Cashin)


    The MTA announced this past summer that the borough network redesign studies that were halted by covid will resume this fall. A Brooklyn bus network redesign is long overdue, but it must be performed in the correct manner. We have no indication that such is the case.

    The intent is to design routes “from a blank slate,” which is unrealistic. Existing

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  • Make No Mistake, the Ongoing Congestion Pricing Delay is Environmental Racism

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    Subway tunnels (photo: Governor's Office)


    How many of our city's children need to suffer while the MTA conducts a 16-month ‘environmental review’ to implement congestion pricing in New York City? 

    Throughout 2020 and into this year, our city and state elected officials proclaimed in the face of COVID-19 and racial justice protests that they were ready to tackle the problematic issues generations of New Yorkers experienced—among them, solving the structural inequities caused by environmental racism and the harm that it

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  • The Major Challenges and Decisions Facing Kathy Hochul as She Becomes Governor of New York

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    Incoming Governor Kathy Hochul (photo: governor's office)


    Kathy Hochul will become New York’s 57th governor on Tuesday, and the first woman ever to hold the position, as disgraced Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation goes into effect and he hands over the reins of state government. Hochul, who has been Cuomo’s lieutenant governor since 2015, will take over the complicated machinery and immense power of state government. She will face no shortage of challenges as she assumes authority over an executive chamber mired in scandal and a state

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  • Schumer Says Big Infrastructure Package is on Deck; What's on New York City's List?

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    Senator Chuck Schumer at City Hall (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    As Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated the passage of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which will deliver $6 billion in direct aid to New York City government and many additional billions to New Yorkers, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer had more good tidings to offer as he promised that a massive infrastructure program is next on the agenda. 

    Biden has proposed a $2 trillion “Build Back Better” plan to invest in infrastructure and combat climate change. It’s

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  • The Governor’s Raids of Transit and Climate Funds Must Be Stopped

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    Gov. Cuomo at an MTA announcement (photo: governor's office)


    This budget year for New York State is like no other due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but one thing remains business as usual in Albany: The Governor is once again filling state budget holes with funds that are supposed to be dedicated to supporting mass transit and fighting climate change—hitting disadvantaged communities especially hard.

    Governor Cuomo intends to take $240 million in dedicated taxes from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), and $23 million from the Regional

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  • MTA’s ‘Worst Case’ is Really a Massive $23 Billion Deficit Through 2024

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    Governor Cuomo at an MTA train depot (photo: governor's office)


    New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is facing the largest fiscal crisis in its history due to COVID-19. With more federal aid not forthcoming, the MTA has been buying time – quite literally, by borrowing up to $2.9 billion from the Federal Reserve – before the axe will need to fall on service and its workforce. The MTA’s Chief Financial Officer, Bob Foran, said that layoffs would need to start

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  • The MTA’s $500 Million Cleaning Regimen is Shutting the Subways Overnight; Experts Say It’s Not Worth It

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    Gov. Cuomo cleans the subway (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    This story was published in partnership with New York Focus, an independent, investigative news publication covering New York state and city politics.
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    Every night since May 6, a small army of sanitation workers has mopped floors, wiped poles and turnstiles, and wielded electrostatic sprayers and ultraviolet lamps to disinfect New York City’s subway system.

    The Metropolitan

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  • The State Must Step In Now to Avoid a Mass Transit Apocalypse

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    Governor Cuomo on the subway (photo: governor's office)


    Hope that Congress can enact a post-election stimulus package to aid the economy amid another explosion of coronavirus cases has narrowed. One major institution in New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), is now out of time to get help. It is therefore necessary for New York State to step up and rescue the MTA before it begins a series of wrenching cutbacks that could permanently harm the New York region. The

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  • To Tackle Covid and Climate Change, Invest in a Five-Borough MTA

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    Governor Cuomo talks subways (photo: governor's office)


    A city on the precipice of financial collapse. A federal government unwilling to provide help. Thousands of jobs and vital programs on the line. This was the situation in New York City in 1975, but this description is not far off from the picture in 2020.

    Though the causes of these two crises were different, the effect will most likely be the same: massive budget cuts, especially to new projects. During the 1970s, the MTA was implementing plans to expand the subway system, including building the

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  • Without Federal Aid, MTA Bloodbath Will Be Even Worse Than Its ‘Doomsday’ Plan

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    Subway ridership (photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit)


    We agree with the MTA that its fate hinges on the federal government, which must provide the MTA at least $10 billion in federal emergency funds through the end of 2021 to prevent the end of the New York City region’s mass transit system as we know it. 

    The MTA’s options without federal aid from its August “doomsday” plan are all terrible. Worse, they are far from exaggerations and are a glimpse into a

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  • To Honor Essential Workers, Congress Must Save Public Transit

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    Nurses and other essential workers need public transit (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    I am a lifelong New Yorker and public transit rider. In March, when so many of my friends, family, and neighbors stopped commuting, I kept traveling to work. I depend on a bus and two subways to get from my Queens home to the East Side of Manhattan hospital where I’m a pharmacist. 

    Like most people, I had never heard of “essential workers” before COVID-19. Everyone I knew got up and went to work regardless of what job they had. And thankfully, many I know

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  • De Blasio Makes Big Bus Move, But Continues to Disappoint Electeds and Advocates Seeking More

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    De Blasio rides the bus (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    As the coronavirus public health crisis waned and New York City headed toward entering the first phase of “reopening” its economy after the government-ordered near-shutdown, Mayor Bill de Blasio was under increasing pressure to develop transit plans to help New Yorkers returning to work get around by various and safe means. This was especially true regarding buses.

    While the city’s subways and buses are run by the state-controlled MTA, de Blasio does have significant sway over the bus system

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  • De Blasio Offers No Transit Plans as City Heads Toward 'Reopening'

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


    New York City is set to begin a phased “reopening” on Monday, June 8, as indicators show significant progress in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. But as many New Yorkers start heading back to work, Mayor Bill de Blasio has offered no solutions to balance city residents’ need for transportation, maintaining public health by preventing new coronavirus infections, and preventing all-out gridlock if too many New Yorkers turn to cars.

    About 5.4 million people rode the New York City subway

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  • Keep Subways Closed Overnight to Expedite System Modernization

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    Governor Cuomo discusses subways during coronavirus (photo: governor's office)


    The MTA’s recent institution of overnight closure of the subways has attracted a tremendous amount of attention and criticism from advocates for homeless people and many transit advocates. MTA Chair Pat Foye has sought to reassure critics by emphasizing that it is a temporary measure that will end when the pandemic emergency is over. The closure seems to be an attempt to assure transit workers that the MTA is taking their safety seriously and the public that the trains are safe and will not become de

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  • Cuomo Hasn't Submitted De Blasio's MTA Board Nominees to State Senate, Which Left Albany Indefinitely

    1 mbd rides cityhall

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Two months after Mayor Bill de Blasio made his nominations for two empty seats on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board, Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to send those nominations to the State Senate for its approval. The inaction continues to leave half of de Blasio’s four seats empty as the Board makes major decisions impacting virtually everyone who lives or works in New York City.

    The MTA Board is composed of 17 voting members, whose decisions have broad impacts on the

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  • Shut Down the Subway – and Fix It

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    Gov. Cuomo should close the subways, the author writes (photo: Governor's Office)


    New York City is the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in the United States. State and city authorities are pleading with residents to stay home, shelter in place, and maintain distance from fellow New Yorkers to slow the wave of cases crashing into the city’s healthcare facilities.

    Yet, public transportation was running on the standard weekday schedule as of Monday morning. With subway ridership down ridership down 87%, the...

  • New York Mass Transit System on Verge of Going Broke, Needs Bailout Quickly

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    Subway ridership has plunged during the coronavirus outbreak (photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA NYCT)


    Patrick Foye, the chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and therefore the leader of the city’s subway and bus systems, sent a letter to the local Congressional delegation on March 17 stating that the MTA faced financial calamity and seeking $4 billion in federal aid.

    The MTA’s

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  • Will the MTA Really Turn Its Back on Disabled New Yorkers Yet Again?

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    (photo: Patrick Cashin/Metropolitan Transportation Authority)


    Although accessibility is a hot topic of late, is government truly willing to partner in the multifaceted effort required to increase positive outcomes and general quality of life for our city’s residents and visitors with disabilities?

    People seem to enjoy theorizing about its necessity and how long overdue universal design has been, but once the discussion reaches implementation, the ideals suddenly are not as indispensable as they once were.

    I am a Brooklyn-based blind

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  • Byford’s Gone and So's His Job; What's Next?

    mta president byford

    (photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit)


    There will never be another MTA New York City Transit President with the power Andy Byford had when he took the job two years ago. Under Governor Cuomo’s MTA reorganization plan, all future NYCT “Presidents” have been stripped of the power to manage capital projects like replacing signals and switches or buying new rail cars and buses. The next boss of Transit also lost control of a large number of engineering experts and legions of Transit Authority workers who are reimbursed for their time on

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  • Is the MTA’s Plan to Redesign the Queens Bus System an Improvement?

    mta cuomo arrival

    (photo: Patrick Cashin/Metropolitan Transportation Authority)


    Is the MTA’s plan to redesign the Queens bus network an improvement, or will it further destroy the bus system? 

    The MTA released its Draft Queens Bus Network Redesign on December 30. Queens voices have protested the plan from Woodside to ...