How Cuomo's Resignation Affects Transit Projects

With the governor stepping down, the state's transit agencies have an opportunity to reevaluate controversial projects and shift their priorities.

2 minute read

August 19, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

AirTrain Newark Airport

formulanone / Flickr

As Governor Cuomo steps down from his post amid scandal, writes Alissa Walker, the state gets 'a reprieve' from transportation policies that, according to a letter from Port Authority staffers, were made through "non-transparent, politically motivated decisions, including decisions that squander the trust and money of our bondholders, customers, and the general public." The letter also called for halting the controversial AirTrain project, championed by Cuomo. 

According to Stephen Nessen, "[a]s governor, Cuomo has lorded over transportation projects for better and worse, and has called the shots from Albany on many matters that affect the daily commute in the New York City region. Most prominently, he controls the MTA by recommending the majority of its 21 board members, and approving all of them." Walker argues this holds true for other proposals that withered on the governor's desk, including congestion pricing, which could raise as much as one billion dollars a year for public, and "the Fast Forward proposal for the MTA, an ambitious, necessary, achievable vision proposed by New York City Transit head Andy Byford to make the subway system more efficient and accessible and then derailed by the governor’s ego."

As federal funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act starts to flow into the state, Walker writes, "[t]he big question for Kathy Hochul — who will become the state’s first woman governor in two weeks — is whether she can dismantle the gubernatorial institutions that wreaked havoc on the state’s transportation systems."

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