Here’s a rather amusing story on the state of MTA politics in New York: Gov. David Paterson, facing the potential of a tough primary challenge from current state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, is slamming Cuomo for failing to lead on issues relating to the MTA. Cuomo hasn’t declared his candidacy for governor because, according to Paterson, he can’t answer the tough questions such as what to do with the MTA. “Why do you think he’s staying out?” Paterson said. “What does Andrew Cuomo think about the Wall Street bonuses, the last I checked he was for eliminating them. What does Andrew Cuomo think about the budget plans? What does Andrew Cuomo think about the way to pay for the MTA? He doesn’t have an opinion.”
There’s no small amount of irony in Paterson’s statement. He’s the current governor, and he doesn’t have any viable solutions for the MTA’s budgetary problems either. The promised payroll tax has been a disaster, and Paterson doesn’t have the political will, capital or power to force a congestion pricing-based funding plan. Paterson’s plan for the MTA has been to cut appropriations, cut state contributions for Student MetroCards, reject the agency’s five-year capital plan and run for the hills. That’s not leadership either, and until Paterson figures out how he plans to do his job and help the MTA through its current funding crisis, he probably shouldn’t slam others not yet in the same position of authority and responsibility.