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Transportation ∙ Budget

Restore Control of the Subways and Buses to New Yorkers

New York City public transport is by far the most utilized public transportation system in the country. We have the highest percentage of residents who depend on public transport to get to work or school everyday. Over the last decade, the quality of service has declined significantly. While cost has gone up, delays have increased, cleanliness has diminished — making the job of MTA workers harder— and more recently, crime has spiked at an alarming rate. From 2012 to 2017, subway delays grew by 300%. Capital improvements lagged. And it wasn’t for lack of money. New York City spends almost twice as much as Chicago per mile of commuting distance 

The problem can largely be attributed to a fundamental lack of accountability. The MTA is a state run entity that answers to the governor and insufficient input from the city. It is spread thin by overseeing regional transportation systems along with NYC’s subways and buses. NYC has the largest public transportation system in the country and this sprawling system should be the sole responsibility of an agency, run by the people who use it, in the city in which it is used. Simply put, there are too many bureaucratic layers between actual subway and bus riders and the leadership of the MTA. And the result is a failing system that does not meet the needs of New York City. As mayor, Andrew Yang will call for full municipal control of the operations of the subways and buses.  

This is not the first time this idea has been proposed. New Yorkers have long been frustrated by the inefficiencies surrounding NYC public transportation and have wanted to bring the control center closer to home. Many of the excuses blocking this transformative change are moot. For example, detractors often bring up “funding source as a deterrent,” arguing that because funding for the agency comes from the state, the city could not afford to take that on. However, in 2001, the State of New York gave the city control over its own school system without changing any funding streams. We can apply this same transfer of power to the subways and buses. More than this, with greater streamlining, oversight, and centralized responsibility, we can finally get the agency's finances in order and focus on improving the transit system to better serve New Yorkers' needs. 

A system run by the Mayor and his appointed Department of Transportation Commissioner.

Andrew Yang’s vision for municipal control includes mayoral control over operations, capital budgeting and execution over subways and buses, while working in conjunction with, and delegating to, the commissioner of the Department of Transportation, who will be appointed by and report to the mayor. Funding will not change and this will not devolve into a political play for power between the governor and the mayor. The DOT is already responsible for City streets - including bus lanes. A Yang Administration will ensure that New York City residents retain control of their transit. 

Reduce operating costs and streamline more strategic planning.

Andrew Yang will execute tighter control and focus over the system with the goal of reducing operating costs. Under municipal control, Andrew Yang will integrate bus and subway planning with traffic management and bike infrastructure, and will allow the city to more efficiently and accurately coordinate transit planning with housing and economic development. This will include identifying neighborhoods with significant potential for affordable housing that are currently underserved by public transit and how the city can rectify that. 

A recent survey of NYC democrats showed that a majority of voters want municipal control of subways and buses. Andrew Yang was the first candidate to call for this necessary reform and will restore a reliable, safe and equitable public transit system to the people of New York City. 


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