Mayor Bill de Blasio took swipes at MTA leadership on Thursday — after announcing a proposed budget that excluded funding requested by transit officials.
Speaking to reporters, Hizzoner — who previously called it “appropriate” for the city to contribute to the state-run MTA’s $51.5 billion four-year capital plan — said Thursday a recent audit of the plan had been “superficial.”
“I am always willing to entertain additional support for the MTA, but I have to represent the people of the city and the taxpayers of the city,” de Blasio said, noting that 70 percent of the MTA’s revenue comes from the Big Apple.
“We are not going to keep handing over money, unless the money is going to be used well,” he said.
He continued: “In the 20 years almost that I’ve been in public service, I’ve not had a New Yorker come up to me and say ‘gee, the MTA is so well run; gee, the MTA is my model for efficient, modern organization; gee, I wish I could be like the MTA.’”
The MTA has requested $3 billion in city funds for the five-year capital plan, along with $3 billion from the state. The city and state contributed $2.5 billion and $8.3 billion, respectively, to the previous capital plan.
A “forensic audit” of the new capital plan by independent contractor Crowe LLP concluded that the MTA did not give the public enough time to review the plan, and that the its cost estimates were “significantly deficient.”
The mayor has avoided direct involvement in the MTA during his six years in office, instead opting to push his own initiatives like the proposed Brooklyn-Queens streetcar and the NYC Ferry, which serves the city’s wealthy waterfront communities.
He declined to participate in the Capital Program Review Board, where he had a veto over the plan, because Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted that de Blasio himself take part instead of a proxy
In November, de Blasio administration officials also dismissed the MTA’s other funding ask — $159 million for Access-A-Ride services — as “extortion.”
MTA rep Abbey Collins hit back at the mayor later Thursday.
“It’s clear the Mayor is more interested in his streetcar named desire and ferry for the 1 percent than investing in New York’s mass transit system serving nearly 8 million daily customers,” Collins said in a lengthy statement that also mocked the mayor’s frequent absences and infamous tardiness.
“The mayor never objected to funding our historic capital plan at the same level as the state, and without the city’s funding we cannot meet our goal of making the maximum number of stations accessible,” Collins said.
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