In most disagreements between Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Cuomo, the governor holds the cards: The mayor either needs money from the state budget or some action by the State Legislature. In this instance, the governor still controls the money â through the authority â but as the subways sputter, that responsibility can be an albatross.
âLetâs be clear: Thereâs a division of labor,â Mr. de Blasio said during his weekly interview on âThe âBrian Lehrer Showâ on WNYC. âItâs out in the open. Letâs not kid around anymore. If you have a concern â if you like something N.Y.P.D. is doing, or you donât like it â talk to me. If you like the schools or you donât like them, talk to me.
âIf you like something happening in our subways or donât like it, you talk to the governor,â the mayor continued. âHeâs in charge and he should just own up to it and take this responsibility seriously and put forward a plan.â
Mr. de Blasioâs comments elicited a swift response from the governorâs press secretary, Dani Lever, who said that the city should contributing more to the authorityâs capital plan. Ms. Lever repeated Mr. Cuomoâs defense: that he does little more than appoint members to the authorityâs board. She laced her remarks, as is typical of this feud, with a bit of an ad hominem attack.
âMath and the facts are not the mayorâs forte, as we know,â she said in an email statement. âThe governor has six appointees on the M.T.A. board out of 14â â the number of full votes cast by the board â âlast we checked that is not a majority.â
The governor also appoints the chairman of the board, with four members recommended by the mayor and one each from the seven counties served by the commuter lines. (Four of the counties combine for one vote.) The members are confirmed by the State Senate.
Mr. Cuomo has taken an increasingly hands-on role at the authority and exerts influence on a wide range of issues, from pushing it to announce an improvement plan for the subways and deciding what to prioritize in the capital improvement plan. His office has issued a steady stream of feel-good announcements about the subways over the years, particularly around the time of the opening of the Second Avenue subway line.
âYou know who runs the M.T.A.? The governor has the majority of members,â Mr. Cuomo said in December while touring the new stations. âThe mayor has members, the county executive has members, but the governor has the majority of members. And if a governor wanted to step up and be responsible, he or she could be. And what I said is Iâm going to step up and take responsibility.â
Those comments appeared to be at odds with the…