Gov. Andrew Cuomo late Tuesday advanced legislation to give New York State majority control of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and thus the responsibility and authority over the crisis-ridden agency that operates New York City’s subways and buses.

The MTA, a state-run agency with Cuomo already having firmed his grip on the agency over the past year, is one of the largest municipal issuers with nearly $38 billion in debt. It also operates Long Island and Metro-North commuter railroads and several intercity bridges and tunnels.

Breakdowns and delays on city subways have triggered a closer look at the MTA's operations and aging infrastructure. Cuomo, meanwhile, has fashioned himself as an infrastructure governor, with many likening his style to Robert Moses, the city's uber-commissioner of yesteryear.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was first elected in 2010.
“Finger pointing has been standard operating procedure for decades,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said of the MTA. Bloomberg News

The legislation would add two additional state seats to the MTA board appointed by the governor and an additional vote for the chairman. Of the new board’s total voting members, it would now give the state eight appointees and nine votes.

“Finger pointing has been standard operating procedure for decades,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The MTA's full board is scheduled to meet Wednesday.

No voting majority exists now on the MTA. New York State has six seats, New York City has four seats and Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Putnam – the latter with merely a quarter-vote each -- have the balance of the board’s seats for a total of 14 voting seats.

The MTA's organizational structure originated in 1965.

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