Monday’s Headlines: Streetsblog is in Albany Edition

Photo: Brad Aaron
Photo: Brad Aaron

Streetsblog’s New York-based team of Gersh Kuntzman and David Meyer is in Albany on Monday and Tuesday — and, man, it looked like that duo picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue!

It all started Sunday with a bombshell statement by state budget director Robert Mujica that demanded that Gov. Cuomo (fact check: his boss) be given control of the MTA (fact check: he already has the most power over it) because everyone has failed (fact check: including the governor).

“Who should be held responsible for not checking every possible alternative on the L train tunnel?” Mujica asked. “The answer is everyone. But when the answer is ‘everyone’ the answer becomes ‘no one.’ Governor Cuomo’s basic rule of management is that one person must be in charge.” That person is Cuomo.

Of course, reporters homed in on the other detail — yes, Gov. Cuomo wants control, but he only wants half the capital costs of running the most important rail and bus system in the world. (NY Post) Friend of Streetsblog John Kaehny of Reinvent Albany saw through the governor’s power grab: “Cuomo is trying to force the city to pay way more for even less influence over the subways,” he told the Post. “The city should be worried. The governor wants to stick the city with huge costs, and he’s been trying to create the political groundwork for the last few years to do it.”

And Channel 2 News was even less subtle: “Gov. Cuomo Makes It Clear: He Wants Total Control Of MTA,” the station’s headline stated.

Monday will bring lots of new Senators and Assembly members not knowing where to go. And Tuesday is Cuomo’s State of the State adress. Clearly, our crew’s trip to the state capital will be exciting. Watch this space, or the Streetsblog Twitter feed, for Meyer and Kuntzman’s daily updates.

But for now, here’s the news:

  • The Daily News reported that a new poll shows big support for congestion pricing.
  • The Post’s coverage of Andrew Cuomo’s L-versal has been uniformly excellent (with the possible exception of its giddy first-day “L-Yeah!” headline). On Saturday, the paper’s editorial board put all the blame and responsibility at Cuomo’s feet. (NY Post) (Maybe that’s what prompted the governor’s demand for more power?)
  • In case you missed it, Borough Park residents harassed an NYPD tow agent and liberated an illegally parked car that he had already started to remove from its unsafe position. Oh, and several members of the community shouted racial slurs. Somehow, in Borough Park, this is acceptable. (NYDN)
  • The New York Times’ Jim Dwyer has been tweeting up a storm about the L train. Finally, he has produced his epic, and he’s on Team Cuomo: “When you drill into the details, it is hard to see where the latest plan falls short,” he wrote.
  • MTA board members will be briefed on Tuesday about Gov. Cuomo’s L-train plan. (NY Post, amNY) The noon meeting will be open to the public and will feature a presentation of the new plan by the same engineering firm that came up with the original plan that was rejected.
  • Brooklyn Heights residents rallied over the weekend to save the fabled Promenade, which is set to be demolished while the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is rebuilt, only to be restored later. (NY Post) Streetsblog has called for the roadway to be torn down and not replaced. Borough President Eric Adams agreed: “I’m tired of the way we’re thinking about how do we move people around this city,” he said.
  • The Wall Street Journal spent some time with New York City Transit President Andy Byford. The takeaway? He has a tough job! (WSJ)
  • Speaking of old, unneeded infrastructure: they’re going to blow up the old Tappan Zee Bridge on Tuesday. Too bad Gov. Cuomo couldn’t find a way to include rail in his fancy new Mario Cuomo Bridge. (NYDN)
  • And, finally, we have a winner! Friend of Streetsblog Ed Yoo figured out within six minutes that editor Gersh Kuntzman was sitting next to Assembly Member Dick Gottfried on the Amtrak Empire to Albany on Sunday night. Kudos to Ed!