De Blasio: The city is not 'fiscally strong enough' to give more to the M.T.A.
Joe Lhota will increase the city's contributions to the M.T.A. if he becomes mayor, he has said.
Not Bill de Blasio.
"I don't think we can do that right now, honestly," he told Mark Riley this morning on his AM 1600 WWRL radio show.
Earlier this week, Lhota said that that as mayor he would contribute more to the struggling transportation authority's capital plan, now heavily reliant on debt.
The city normally accounts for a very small proportion of the authority's funding. For example, in the existing $26 billion, five-year capital plan, the city contributes an average of $152 million a year. But the city can, and has, done more. During the prior capital plan, the city underwrote the extension of the 7 train to the far west side.
Lhota should theoretically be closely attuned to the needs of the M.T.A., since he once ran it. But until this week, his harrowing experience reviving the transportation system after Hurricane Sandy had not been reflected in any obvious way in his pothole-heavy, Staten Island-centric transportation campaign rhetoric.
De Blasio's trajectory has gone in the other direction, from resistant to supportive on progressive transit schemes.
That only goes so far.
"I think there are some things we can do that are meaningful, like help expand Bus Rapid Transit in the outer boroughs, and there's a contribution the city can make to that through capital funding," he told Riley. "But in terms of the core of our budget, no, we're not in the position to do that right now."