Op-Ed: The mayor should have municipal control of the subways

Council Speaker Corey Johnson believes in giving municipal control of the subway to the mayor.
Brooklyn Paper
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We’ve all been there: Stuck in a crowded subway car due to “signal problems,” or sitting on a bus moving so slowly that you might as well have walked.

Frustration with our mass transit system is a New York state of mind we’re all unfortunately accustomed to, but I truly believe it doesn’t have to be this way.

The vast majority of the problems with our system can be summed up in one word: accountability.

There isn’t any.

The MTA is a state authority controlled by the governor with its own budget that’s approved by a bunch of board members most New Yorkers have never even heard of.

It’s confusing, which is the point.

How else could the people in charge avoid blame and responsibility when things go wrong?

The buck has to stop with someone, and it has to be someone who knows if they don’t get it right their job is on the line.

This is why I support municipal control of the subways, which would mean accountability will fall squarely on one person - the Mayor of New York City.

It means we run our subways, we run Staten Island rail, we plan our bus routes — right now the City doesn’t even do that – and we control the toll money from the seven bridges and tunnels currently run by the MTA.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s all well and good, but how does that help my commute?

Those signal problems making you late for work all the time?

That is what happens when no one is responsible.

It’s the result of decades of misplaced priorities.

Our subways signals date back to the 1930s.

They’ve never been upgraded because the MTA’s governance structure incentivized short term glamour projects over the long term investments we really need. It’s painting the outside of a house that’s falling apart inside.

And the result? We allow a 21st century system to operate with infrastructure that was built in the 1930s like it is now.

What about our slow buses?

Municipal control would help get our buses moving again because for the first time ever, the City – and not the State – would be able to quickly fix routes that aren’t working and work in close coordination with the Department of Transportation, which is currently under our control.

That means better, more cohesive bus service that gets New Yorkers where they need to be faster.

It makes no sense that different entities are covering both now. Municipal control isn’t just more accountable. It’s more efficient too.

Making municipal control a reality won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. But this is worth fighting for. We have to think big to solve the problem of how we move around our city. We can’t let fear of the politically difficult stop us from taking on this challenge. We have to get New York City moving again.

I’m ready to fight for this for as long as it takes to make it happen. I hope you’ll fight alongside me.

Corey Johnson is the New York City Council speaker

Updated 8:29 am, June 25, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
As long as you have the MTA acting like a dysfunctional family, nothing will ever change no matter which level of government is running it.
June 25, 2019, 1:55 pm
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
We had municipal control of the subways from 1953 to 1968, and it was no better. The NYCTA was just as bad as the MTA in terms of being responsible to the public. Stations and trains were in worse shape. What makes Mr. Johnson think, it would be any different this time around? The city can't even manage NYCHA so why would they be able to manage the subways?
June 25, 2019, 5:11 pm
Mai Dai from Homecrest says:
God Forbid!!! He would probably give free passes to 1/2 the city and force the other 1/2 to seek other forms of transportation. I can only hope that Corey Johnson never replaces De blasio. He has the potential to be worse. Thank God I am retired and use public transportation on rare occasions. I am a side walker Dodging bikes and scooters as I try to get around the city's sidewalks.
June 25, 2019, 5:51 pm
Local from Here says:
⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆Idiot. GFYS!⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆
June 25, 2019, 6:37 pm
Local from Here says:
Corey from Uber wants to confiscate your cars so you will be forced to use the ride share companies that bought and paid for him. Don’t be fooled by this clown.
June 25, 2019, 6:58 pm
Local from Here says:
⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆Idiot who can't think of an original name⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆
June 25, 2019, 7:11 pm
Local from Here says:
Says the troll that stole my username. Whatever, fool.
June 25, 2019, 9:02 pm
Distant from There says:
NY politicians are like high school kids on the student council. They are all useless, SJW, white guilt/white haters. This state is doomed with these rejects.
June 25, 2019, 9:11 pm
SCR from Realityville says:
Those NY'ers who have been around for a while,know that endless subway-train delays,are nothing new. In fact,it was even considerably worse,in the early to mid-1980s. Many of the explanation,were much the same,such as congestion,signal problems(Red-signals);etc. My suspicion,is that such delays,seriously increase;when there is a generational-to younger less experienced workers. I doubt whether NYCTA employees,are different than other public-servants. Work about 30-years,and out.(Retirement) The current subways delays,were also considerably exacerbated,by a misguided campaign;to encourage anyone-who doesn't feel well,the request medical-assistance. Some surveys,even showed,to that this issue was the biggest cause of system-wide delays. To their credit,they seem to have seriously scaled-back,the campaign. As for city-bus delays,it's likely,a combination of ever increasing traffic,and not adjusting bus-headways.(Bus schedules) And likely,a matter,of bus-garage managers,who just don't give a damn,if there are no-show(ghost) busses. Thus bus"customers",have wait twice the time. In some cases,40 to 60-minutes. For NYCTA busses,the garages,are the absolute center of gravity.
June 25, 2019, 9:12 pm
The Hunkster from Bed-stuy says:
This is what we get when we voted for this NY cronies, from Mayor de Crony to Governor Crony to President Crony: The three New York Stooges who don't care about their millions of bus and subway commuters. Political involvement from these current and past politicians had made the MTA as it is since 1969.
June 26, 2019, 7:52 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
He can’t run the city, has transit police stand down so the homeless can run the subways knocking down every landmark he can. But he is running for president. Just enough to fill the campaign fund then quit in a money laundering scheme to beat the band cause he gets to keep the $$$.
June 26, 2019, 8:16 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
The OFFICE of the Mayor should have control... this current douche-tower who is too busy having pancakes in Iowa, not so much.
June 26, 2019, 1:50 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Let's not forget that Manhattan DA Cy Vance thinks that fare beaters should get nothing more than a slap on the wrist for what they are doing.
June 27, 2019, 6:02 am
Joe from Prospect Heights says:
Will be tough for our mayor to run the subways from the campaign trail. Can you imagine dealing with a signal failure from Iowa?
June 28, 2019, 3:27 pm

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