Chirico says 2nd Ave. subway funds should go to repairs
MTA should postpone the start of the second phase of construction of the Second Avenue subway in Manhattan and put that money toward emergency repairs for the entire transit system, according to a Bay Ridge City Council candidate.
Democrat Vincent Chirico, who is running in a crowded field of candidates in the Sept. 12 primary in the 43rd Council District, released his plan to improve the deteriorating subway system.
Subway riders have been faced with train derailments, delays, crowded subway cars and litter-filled stations.
Chirico, who is a lawyer in Dyker Heights, said his plan includes both short-term and long-term solutions.
Chirico said he supports an $836 million subway improvement plan proposed in July by MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, but stressed that he is opposed to any new taxes or surcharges to fund subway repairs.
“No new taxes, period. Commuters didn’t create this problem, and are already charged enough for living in New York City,” Chirico said.
Instead of new taxes, Chirico proposed reallocating a portion of the $3 billion earmarked for the second phase of the Second Avenue subway and putting that money toward subway repairs throughout the transit system.
“We always taught our children first you do the things you have to do, and then you do the things you want to do. Putting aside money for a decades-long project on the Upper East Side is nonsensical when there are emergency repairs that must be made to our existing system. Let’s first get the trains running on time, and then we can worry about new construction,” Chirico said.
Another MTA project, the installation of new station countdown clocks in subway stations, is poorly-timed, according to Chirico. “Great. Now commuters can give their employers a more precise time they’re being delayed,” he said.
The project should be scrapped, he said
Chirico proposed giving the city a larger number of appointments to the MTA Board. That way, he said, City Hall becomes more accountable for the transit system.
Chirico came out in support of Lhota’s proposal to create a CompStat-type accountability model for transit managers to make sure the trains run on time.
Chirico also called for the city’s community boards to create MTA community empowerment councils to enable neighborhood residents to be heard on transit issues.
One thing that would help, according to Chirico, is for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who are often at odds, to get along better.
“Riders are already delayed going to and from work. Their time should not be further wasted by the mayor and governor’s embarrassing spat,” he said.
Chirico is one of five Democrats running in the primary. The other candidates are: Justin Brannan, Kevin Peter Carroll, the Rev. Khader El-Yateem and Nancy Tong.
There will also be a Republican primary on Sept. 12. The candidates are Bob Capano, Liam McCabe, John Quaglione and Lucretia Regina-Potter.
The winners of the two primaries will face each other in the general election on Nov. 7.
The 43rd Council District includes Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst and Bath Beach.
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