In an effort to highlight Governor Andrew Cuomo’s failure to fund the MTA 2015-2019 Capital Program in his Executive Budget, members of the Riders Alliance on Wednesday, February 3 took to New York City subway platforms with a cardboard cutout of the pol, there to “hear riders’ complaints about the subway,” and “apologize for his inaction.”
“Governor Cuomo made promises to riders, but in his budget, he doesn’t keep them,” said Masha Burina, an organizer with the Riders Alliance and the “Apology Tour.” “Riders on our subways, buses, and commuter rail need Governor Cuomo to keep his promises—and that means putting real money into his budget instead of writing the MTA an IOU.”
This is the second time “Cardboard Cuomo” has made trips on lines across the city. Back in July, 2015, the Riders Alliance brought the life-size cut-out along for an afternoon in an effort to illustrate how straphangers’ grievances have been falling to deaf ears.
“I ride the train every day from Astoria to Manhattan, and the overcrowding and delays are getting worse and worse,” said Lauren Houston, an Astoria resident and Riders Alliance member. “When Governor Cuomo announced he would fund the MTA Capital Plan, I thought we’d actually see relief. Putting zero dollars in his budget for the capital plan isn’t relief. It’s a bait-and-switch.”
After reaching an agreement with Mayor de Blasio that included $7.3 billion in additional State funding for the MTA Capital Plan, Governor Cuomo’s 2016-17 budget proposal contains no new money for the program—even after the governor announce major plans to “modernize and fundamentally transform the MTA” with billions of dollars of investment, and years-worth of headaches for commuters.