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MTA threatens to skimp on its emergency action plan without city funding

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MTA board members also suggested that commuters consider legal action against the city

New York Gov. Cuomo Declares MTA Subway System In State Of Emergency Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The MTA is doubling down on its statements made back in September that the agency would have to scale back on its $836 million emergency response action plan, if the city isn’t willing to pay for half. At a committee meeting held on Monday, MTA board members once again stated that unless City Hall contributes funding, the plan will be drastically impacted.

During the meeting to check in on the status current repair projects, acting MTA president Tim Mulligan stated that the agency’s “underlying funding” issue has not been resolved and could result in the agency being forced to “pull back and look at how we prioritize or how we limit or scale down the efforts going forward,” reports Gothamist.

This is the latest in an ongoing feud between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio over who is responsible for the MTA and its funding needs. Despite Governor Cuomo declaring a state of emergency for the ailing system and acknowledging control over the transit agency, he continues to turn toward the city for funding to carry out repairs.

During the meeting, International Transit Workers Union president and board member John Samuelsen went as far as to suggest that subway riders and transit workers take legal action against City Hall as a way to make the city “rethink its obligations.” However, there’s one problem with that idea: the city doesn’t control the MTA; the state does. As for Mayor de Blasio, well, he’s made it clear that he will not be contributing any funds toward the agency’s action plan.

“Governor Cuomo is holding millions of transit riders hostage in his dispute with the Mayor, even after he acknowledged that the subway system is in a state of emergency and promised to fix it,” said Executive Director of the Riders Alliance, Joel Raskin before suggesting that the two politicians use their respective powers to fill the funding gap.

“Governor Cuomo should lead with a strong congestion pricing plan that he alone has the stature to shepherd through the state legislator. [The Mayor] should focus his attention where he can make the biggest difference, which is reshaping city streets to prioritize public transit and implementing Fair Fares so low-income New Yorkers can afford to get around town,” states Raskin.