Mayor balks at MTA's 50-50 split plan for subway improvements

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Tim Fleischer reports on the meeting from Lower Manhattan.

The MTA board will held its monthly meeting Wednesday, one day after MTA Chairman Joe Lhota revealed his plan to fix the subway system - a plan that has pitted Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo in an escalating battle over who will pay.

This new plan will cost hundreds of millions of dollars and already there is push back, especially from the city.

"I unveiled a new plan with the staff to stabilize and improve the New York City subway system," said Joe Lhota, MTA Chairman.

Lhota briefed board members on his aggressive new subway action plan to make massive improvements to the aging system at a cost of more than $800 million for the first phase alone.

His hope to have the city and state split the costs 50-50 was met with a cold shoulder from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"Not fair to the city or taxpayers," de Blasio said.

The mayor believes the city should not have to pay for the vast array of improvements planned.

"I just want the MTA to own up to their responsibilities and use the money they have," de Blasio said.

"There is a need for a partnership between the city and state to come to the aid the riders, the people of the City of New York, the constituents. I'm optimistic that something can happen from that," Lhota said.
"New York City is facing a transit crisis," a new TV ad by the Transit Workers Union said.

It's driving home that point the TWU supports the MTA plan.

It is starting to air the television spot urging Mayor de Blasio to pay 50-percent of the costs.

"It's time for the mayor to put politics aside and pay his fair share," a man in the ad said.

"The mayor needs to step up and pay his fair share," a woman in the ad said.

Chairman Lhota prefers to hold talks with the city behind closed doors.

"Whatever discussions I have, with the mayor or any representative of the mayor, I will need to do it quietly and privately until we have something," Lhota said.

Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo is in Washington D.C. Wednesday to appeal to a higher authority - he is expected to ask Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for federal funding to help fix the city's deteriorating transit infrastructure as well as push for more federal projects, like a new rail tunnel between New York and New Jersey in order to help alleviate the stress on the region's taxed system.

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