EMERGENCY MTA MEETING

January 15, 2019 at 5:15 am

New York City Transit Association President Andy Byford wants time to vet the last minute plan that might avert a 15 month shutdown of the L-train. We have the details. And, While Governor Cuomo tackles plastic bags, pot and control of the MTA, Mayor de Blasio hasn’t ruled out a run for the White House in 2020. Plus, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is setting her agenda, and perhaps her party’s point of view, as she settles into Congress.

Aired on January 14, 2019.

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>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO
"METROFOCUS."
I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.
THE MTA HAS CALLED FOR AN
EMERGENCY MEETING THIS WEEK TO
DISCUSS GOVERNOR CUOMO'S
LAST-MINUTE PLAN TO CALL OFF THE
L TRAIN SHUTDOWN.
THE EMERGENCY MEETING COMES AS
THE NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT
AUTHORITY PRESIDENT ANDY BIFORD
SAYS HE WANTS TO BRING
INDEPENDENT EXPERTS IN TO VET
THE SAFETY OF THE PLAN,
PROMISING THAT HE WILL NOT BE,
QUOTE, STEAMROLLED INTO MOVING
FORWARD ON THE GOVERNOR'S
PROPOSAL.
SO JOINING ME NOW TO DISCUSS
THIS AND SEVERAL OTHER THINGS IS
CITY AND STATE POLITICAL
REPORTER JEFF COLTON.
SO, JEFF, THERE IS A LOT OF
ACTION HAPPENING WITH THE MTA
THIS WEEK.
FIRST OF ALL, TELL ME ABOUT THIS
MEETING THAT WE'RE HEARING
ABOUT.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
SO AN EMERGENCY MEETING, EVEN
THE BOARD MEMBERS OF THE MTA
WERE KIND OF CAUGHT BY SURPRISE.
THIS WAS JUST CALLED A FEW DAYS
AGO.
THE POINT OF THIS MEETING IS TO
CONTRACTOR WHO WILL NOW COVER
THE L TRAIN TO THE BOARD
THEMSELVES WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO
BE DOING UNDERGROUND IF THE MTA
BOARD APPROVES.
THE BOARD WILL THEN BE LISTENING
AND SAY OKAY, THAT SOUNDS GOOD,
THAT SOUNDS GOOD.
THIS IS PRETTY IMPORTANT THAT
THE BOARD UNDERSTANDS WHAT'S
HAPPENING, BECAUSE SO FAR ALL
WE'VE GOTTEN ARE SOME RANDOM
QUOTES FROM THE GOVERNOR TO
VARIOUS NEWSPAPERS AND TV
STATIONS.
NOBODY KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT IS
HAPPENING IN THAT TUNNEL, EXCEPT
MAYBE SOME EXPERTS, THE ONES
THAT ARE ACTUALLY GOING TO BE
DOING THE CONSTRUCTION WORK.
SO THIS IS AN EMERGENCY MEETING.
HOPEFULLY WE'LL GET SOME ANSWERS
FROM THIS.
AND THEN THE MTA BOARD HAS TO
APPROVE THIS PLAN.
THEY WILL NOT BE APPROVING IT AT
THE MEETING.
THEY'LL HAVE SOME TIME TO MULL
IT OVER.
>> ONE OF THE THINGS MADE I
THOUGHT WAS INTERESTING WAS ANDY
BIRFORD'S USE OF THE WORD
"STEAMROLL."
THE ORIGINAL PLAN TO SHUT DOWN
THE L TRAIN THAT HAD BEEN WORKED
ON, HAD BEEN STUDIED, THERE WERE
COMMUNITY HEARINGS.
THERE WAS A LOT OF YELLING.
AND TO SUDDENLY HAVE THIS
CHANGE, IT SEEMS THIS IS AS MUCH
OF A POWER PLAY WITH GOVERNOR'S
LAST-MINUTE PROPOSAL AS IT IS
TRYING TO FIND OUT WHAT THE BEST
ANSWER.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
EVEN IF THIS NEW PLAN IS BETTER,
AND IT SEEMS THAT IT WOULD BE
BETTER IN MANY WAYS, THERE HAS
BEEN SO MUCH FRUSTRATION FROM
THE LEADERSHIP BECAUSE THEY WERE
PLANNING ON THIS DIFFICULT PLAN
AND WENT THROUGH A LOT OF STRESS
WITH IT.
>> A LOT OF PEOPLE.
>> COMMUNITY MEETINGS AND
MEMBERS YELLING AT THEM.
NOW THE GOVERNOR HAS COME IN AND
SAID WE DON'T NEED TO DO THAT
ANYMORE.
THERE IS THIS PROBABLY COMBINED
RELIEF AND ANGER.
THEY DO FEEL STEAMROLLED.
BECAUSE OF THAT, POSSIBLY, MTA
CHAIRMAN FERNANDO FERRER, HE IS
THE INTERIM CHAIRMAN.
HE WAS APPOINTED I BELIEVE BY
GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, HE HAS
CALLED FOR SOME INDEPENDENT
EXPERTS EVEN INDEPENDENT OF THE
GOVERNOR, INDEPENDENT OF THE
COMPANIES, TOTALLY INDEPENDENT
TO VET THE PLAN THEMSELVES AND
JUST GET A THIRD OR FOURTH
OPINION ON THIS, TO REALLY MAKE
SURE THAT THE L TRAIN SHUTDOWN
PLAN ISN'T TOO PRELIMINARILY
MOTIVATED, THAT IT WON'T END UP
WITH THE TUNNEL CAVING IN.
>> ALSO BOTH OF THEM VERY, VERY
IMPORTANT ISSUES.
>> THERE IS MANY ISSUES THAT
COULD HAPPEN WITH THIS.
THEY WANT THE GET A FOURTH
OPINION ON THIS THING.
>> ONE LAST THING I WANT TO ASK
ABOUT THE MTA WHICH STILL FITS
IN THIS IS APPARENTLY THE BUDGET
DIRECTOR OF THE STATE IS NOW
PROPOSING ANOTHER MEETING TO
FIGURE OUT WHO IS FINALLY IN
CHARGE OF THE MTA?
BECAUSE EVERYBODY CLAIMS TO BE
NOT IT.
>> THIS IS AN INCREDIBLE BACK
AND FORTH THAT'S BEEN GOING ON
FOR YEARS.
THE GOVERNOR SOMETIMES WANTS
CONTROL OF THE MTA, SOMETIMES
CLAIMS THAT HE DOESN'T CONTROL
IT.
MY LATEST THEORY IS THAT
GOVERNOR CUOMO IS A NOTED
CONTROL FREAK.
AND IF HE DOESN'T HAVE COMPLETE
AND TOTAL ULTIMATE CONTROL ON
THE MTA, HE FEELS LIKE HE
DOESN'T OWN A THING.
IN REALITY, HE HAS VERY MUCH
MOSTLY CONTROL OVER THE MTA.
>> OKAY, BUT STILL, SOME
ARMCHAIR PSYCHOLOGY FROM A
POLITICAL REPORTER.
>> EXACTLY.
>> MOVING ON TO ONE MORE ISSUE
THAT THE GOVERNOR IS FLOATING,
OF COURSE, AND THE PROPOSALS
THAT HE'S GOING TO BE PUTTING
FORTH, ONE OF THEM IS BANNING
PLASTIC BAGS.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
TOMORROW, TUESDAY THE 15th IS A
BIG DEAL.
THE STATE OF THE STATE DELIVERY
OF THE ADDRESS, CUOMO, IT'S
POLITICAL CHRISTMAS.
CUOMO, THE MOST POWERFUL GUY IN
ALBANY COMES OUT WITH ALL OF
THESE POLITICAL PROPOSALS THAT
HE IS GOING TO SAY NEED TO PATS
THIS YEAR.
SO LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA,
PLASTIC BAGS, GOING TO FUND THE
MTA.
IN PAST YEARS, HE SAID LOTS OF
REALLY EXCITING THINGS, EXCITING
THINGS FOR PROGRESSIVES AND
DEMOCRATS THAT USUALLY DON'T END
UP HAPPENING.
THIS YEAR THERE IS A BETTER
CHANCE BECAUSE OF DEMOCRATIC
ALBANY.
>> WELL, SPEAKING OF EXCITING
THINGS THAT DEMOCRATS AND
PROGRESSIVES WANT TO HEAR, WE
HEARD A LOT OF THAT COMING FROM
MAYOR DE BLASIO.
TELL US ABOUT WHAT THIS -- WE
SAW RECENTLY AGAIN ON CNN
SPEAKING TO A NATIONAL AUDIENCE.
NOW, OF COURSE, THE STATE OF THE
CITY ADDRESS THAT HE GAY WAS
VERY LOCAL, BUT IT STILL FELT
VERY NATIONAL.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
MAYOR DE BLASIO IS VERY MUCH SET
HIMSELF UP ADDS A NEW YORK -- AT
LEAST LATELY, A NEW YORK
CITY-FOCUSED, BUT THEN HIS IDEAS
COULD SPREAD ACROSS THE NATION.
YOU KNOW, HE TOLD JAKE TAPPER AT
CNN OVER THE WEEKEND THAT HE HAS
NOT RULED OUT RUNNING FOR
PRESIDENT.
IT'S UNCLEAR EXACTLY WHAT HIS
END GAME IS HERE.
WHETHER DE BLASIO WILL RUN FOR
PRESIDENT, OR WHETHER HE TRULY
AND HONESTLY WANTS TO GET THESE
PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATIC IDEALS A
LARGER AUDIENCE ACROSS THE
NATION AND SPREAD THEM.
WHATEVER IT, IT'S CLEAR THAT THE
MAYOR THINKS THAT HIS WAY IS THE
RIGHT WAY TO DO GOVERNMENT, AND
HE WANTS MORE PEOPLE TO DO THAT,
EVEN IN CITIES THAT ARE LESS
LIBERAL THAN NEW YORK.
>> WELL, OF COURSE EVEN IN YOUR
OWN PIECE, YOU DID HIGHLIGHT
THAT IN ADDITION TO ALL OF THE
THINGS THAT THE -- EXCUSE ME,
THE MAYOR WAS PUTTING FORTH IN
HIS SPEECH, HE DID LEAVE OUT A
FEW IMPORTANT KEY ISSUES FACING
THE CITY.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
PARTICULARLY, HE BARELY SAID A
WORD ABOUT HOMELESSNESS, AND HE
MENTIONED NYCHA, THE NEW YORK
HOUSING AUTHORITY, ONLY ONCE.
THESE ARE KEY ISSUES THE MAYOR
COULD IMPACT, AND HE HAS BEEN
LONG CRITICIZE FOR NOT SAYING
ENOUGH ABOUT THEM.
AND ONCE AGAIN, HE KIND OF
IGNORED THEM IN A STATE OF THE
CITY TO FOCUS ON HIS WINS, HIS
SUCCESSES.
>> ALL RIGHT.
WELL, MOVING FROM THE MAYOR TO
ANOTHER NEW YORK CITY RESIDENT
WHO HAS MADE A HUGE SPLASH
NATIONALLY, AND THAT IS
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ.
THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF, LET'S
SAY CONSTERNATION IN THE MEDIA
ABOUT ALL OF THE ATTENTION SHE
IS ABLE TO GARNER, AND I
UNDERSTAND PERHAPS SOME JEALOUS
WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC RANKINGS.
>> IT SURE SEEMS SO.
THERE WERE A COUPLE OF ARTICLES
THAT CAME OUT THIS PAST WEEK
WITH MANY, MANY QUOTES FROM
CONGRESS MEMBERS, BOTH FROM NEW
YORK AND OTHER PLACES SAYING,
YOU KNOW, BASICALLY QUANTIFYING
THE IMPACT THAT OCASIO-CORTEZ
HAS HAD.
SHE HAS EVERYBODY LOOKING OVER
THEIR SHOULDERS, AFRAID THEY'RE
GOING TO GET CALLED OUT ON
TWITTER FOR DOING SOMETHING
WRONG.
BUT I THINK THE OVERARCHING
POINT IS OCASIO-CORTEZ HAS
ALREADY SHIFTED THE CONVERSATION
WITH PAY GO RULES, ABOUT
BALANCING THE BUDGET.
SHE HAS BROUGHT THAT INTO THE
FOREFRONT WITH THIS GREEN NEW
DEAL SHE HAS BEEN PUSHING, WHICH
IS TONS OF SPENDING ON
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES.
SHE HAS FORCED EVEN PROGRESSIVES
TO TALK ABOUT THINGS THAT THEY
MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN TALKING
ABOUT OTHERWISE.
>> WELL, WE'RE GOING HAVE TO
LEAVE IT THERE, JEFF.
I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR
JOINING US, AS ALWAYS, AND WE
LOOK FORWARD TO MORE OF YOUR
REPORTING.
>> THANK YOU.
>> THANK YOU.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

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