Gov. Cuomo announces MTA adopt-a-station partnership

LOWER MANHATTAN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced a public-private subway partnership program in which private corporations will invest to support the New York City subway system and work with the MTA on issues affecting commuters.

Despite a recent back and forth with Mayor Bill de Blasio over funding, Cuomo struck a tone of partnership in his speech.

"This is our MTA," he said. "This is our transit system. We are all in this together."

Cuomo believes there needs to be a change in attitude as the MTA launches an agressive subway action plan calling for massive improvements to the tune of $836 million. Now, he is adding the partnership element.

"The subway is the lifeblood of New York City, and everyone is coming together to be part of the solution to improve our transit system," Cuomo said.

The program includes an adopt-a-station option, where private companies and partners contributing financial help can push station enhancements to maintenance, security, station aesthetics. There could be art in the stations, too.

Cuomo announced that BlackRock, Blackstone, Estee Lauder, MasterCard, Hearst, Partnership for New York City, and Rudin Management Company had already signed on to the partnership program.

MTA's Chairman Joe Lhota is anxious to start the service improvements.

"It's to start to see better quality service, faster trains, cleaner trains, less breakdowns, less fires," he said. "All the things that delay our trains."

The MTA proposes splitting the cost 50-50 between the state and the city, but de Blasio has dug in his heels and believes the city should not have to pay for the vast array of improvements.

"Today, I am making the state's funds available to begin the transformation of the MTA," Cuomo said. "Our partners should do the same."

City Hall responded in a statement, saying, "Before he asks hardworking New York City taxpayers to kick in more, the governor should return the money he siphoned away from MTA riders."
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