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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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  • 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...

  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Governor Cuomo Owes Subway Riders and Homeless New Yorkers A Housing Plan

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    Governor Cuomo disinfects a subway car (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    The subway is New York’s circulatory system. If it doesn’t recover, New York won’t. But reopening the subway and the city means more than running more trains: It also means helping homeless New Yorkers who today have nowhere else safe to go.  

    That is because, as Governor Cuomo demonstrated, the city’s transit crisis is too entwined with its housing crisis for the MTA alone to bring the subway back. In response to the rising number of New Yorkers with no choice

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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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  • Fare Evasion Shouldn’t Be a Crime; Neither Should Putting Your Feet Up on the Subway

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    Policing the subways (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    If you’ve ridden the subway recently, you could be forgiven for feeling watched. The MTA’s fare evasion crackdown is ubiquitous; subway cars are plastered with phrases like “We’d rather your $2.75 fare than your $100 fine.” Governor Cuomo’s ...

  • ‘Breaking Car Culture’ in New York City Likely Dependent on Expanded Mass Transit

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    (photo: City Council)


    If City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, like-minded lawmakers, and a chorus of transit advocates get their way, New York City will become far less dominated by cars over the next few years.

    Talk of “breaking car culture” by increasing options and protections for bikes, buses, and pedestrians

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  • Corey Johnson Wants to ‘Break the Car Culture’ in New York City. What Does That Mean?

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    Speaker Johnson on the train (photo: City Council's office)


    Imagine a New York where cars no longer rule the road, and pedestrians and cyclists reclaim dominance of the city’s public space. While a New York where cars don’t dominate the streets may seem like a fantasy, to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, it is the future.

    In recent months, Johnson -- a Manhattan Democrat in his second year leading the 51-member City Council -- has gone full bore touting the idea of “breaking car culture,” or prioritizing pedestrians, cyclists,

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  • Johnson Calls for Municipal Control of Subways and Buses, Pledges Congestion Pricing and 'Master Plan for City Streets'

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    Speaker Johnson (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson unveiled an ambitious proposal for municipal control of the city’s mass transit system on Tuesday at his first State of the City speech at LaGuardia Community College in Queens.

    “I am not here to be typical,” Johnson, who is considering a run for mayor in 2021, promised early on as he delivered a speech focused on nothing but transit, including a forceful push for replacing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the state entity that controls the

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  • 8 Steps to Fix New York Transit and Get New Yorkers Moving Again

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    Gov. Cuomo underground (photo: The Governor's Office)


    With the transit system in New York City in constant crisis over a sustained period of time, from delayed trains underground to ever-dropping bus speeds on the streets, the question of how exactly to fix mass transit has been on the minds of elected and appointed officials, advocates and analysts, and, of course, frustrated commuters. In the aftermath of the short-term Subway Action Plan, the ...

  • The Path Forward for Cuomo's 'One Real Answer,' Congestion Pricing

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    Cuomo in the midst of his ABNY presentation


    One major issue that hung over the 2018 state budget season was congestion pricing, a plan to charge a fee to all motor vehicles entering parts of Manhattan and diverting the revenue toward funding the beleaguered subway system. Governor Andrew Cuomo directed a panel to study the issue, which determined that a congestion pricing scheme should be implemented and offered options for what it could look like, including a three-year, three-phase proposal. Activist groups applied significant public pressure on the governor and the

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  • To Save the MTA, Push ‘Fast Forward’ Ahead Quickly and Responsibly

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


    The fight to fix our ailing transit system took a significant step forward in May when New York City Transit President Andy Byford released his “Fast Forward” plan to dramatically accelerate comprehensive fixes to our city’s subways and buses. We, along with many other legislators and advocates, praised the plan and Byford’s work to create it. Fast Forward isn’t just a clear roadmap to a modern subway system; it’s also a very necessary roadmap to MTA reform.

    Now it’s time for the MTA to take the next step toward

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  • The Byford Plan and the MTA Information Deficit

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


    New York City Transit’s new president, Andy Byford, recently presented a major plan to fix the subways, called “Fast Forward,” which involves a massive sustained investment in upgrading and modernizing the subway system, combined with a spending speed-up by closing more subway lines on nights and weekends to get the work done more rapidly. Other major priorities are also in the plan, like improved bus speeds, providing access for disabled people at more stations, strengthening construction management, and

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  • Savino Asks De Blasio for Help Passing ‘Subway Grinder’ Bill He Once Supported

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    Senator Savino and Mayor de Blasio at lunch (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor’s Office)


    As a debate rages over the appropriate law enforcement response to subway fare evasion, in Albany, a bill steepening the penalty for certain subway sex offenses is getting another look.

    During Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ...

  • MTA Funding Fight May Dominate This Year’s City-State Budget Struggle

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    Gov. Cuomo in the subway (photo: The Governor's Office)


    Three key points of contention between the city and the state have emerged over transit funding, highlighted during Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Chair Joe Lhota’s testimony at the joint legislative hearing on transportation Thursday in Albany.

    The hearing, which included discussion of the MTA plan to restore New York City’s ailing subway system, occurred amid an ongoing feud between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo over the funding of crucial

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  • A Vision for the Future of the Tri-State Region

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    New York, New Jersey and Connecticut must reform their governing institutions, overhaul and integrate their transit networks, fight climate change, and make it less costly to live in the region. Those are the four major thematic prescriptions of the Fourth Regional Plan, a comprehensive vision released on Thursday by the Regional Plan Association (RPA), a prominent urban think tank that has advocated for comprehensive urban development projects in the tri-state region for more than 90 years.

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  • City Council Members, with Notable Exceptions, Send Letter to MTA Supporting De Blasio Tax Plan

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    De Blasio on the train (Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    Amid an ongoing feud -- between the Mayor Bill de Blasio on one side and Governor Andrew Cuomo and the MTA on the other -- over funding for mass transit infrastructure in New York City, 27 New York City Council Members on Thursday announced support for the mayor’s proposal to tax wealthy New Yorkers to raise money for subway and bus improvements.

    The mayor has pitched a tax increase on the top-most earners in the city as part of his “Fair Fix” plan, which would raise about $700

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