This Week’s Headlines: The MTA plays "Game of Thrones" and Niagara Falls becomes the black lagoon

Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Patrick Foye, the new president of the MTA.

This Week’s Headlines: The MTA plays "Game of Thrones" and Niagara Falls becomes the black lagoon

The MTA plays "Game of Thrones," Niagara Falls becomes the black lagoon, Chris Collins unveils the SAFE act and Andrew Cuomo spars with the Board of Elections
August 4, 2017

Game of Trains

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority saw some “Game of Thrones”-style power shuffling on Tuesday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Rick Cotton to be the new executive director of the Port Authority, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie named former New Jersey state Sen. Kevin O’Toole as chairman. This move has caused some controversy, as O’Toole may have been involved in the Bridgegate cover-up. Meanwhile, Pat Foye, Cotton’s predecessor, was named the new president of the MTA. Foye is known in part for overseeing the Port Authority during the Bridgegate scandal and reversing the decision to close the New York-bound lanes on the George Washington Bridge in 2013. Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim, previously the interim executive director of the MTA, was named its managing director.

RELATED: New York transit officials talk solutions

This doesn’t sound SAFE


Rep. Chris Collins solidified his position as Cuomo’s antagonist on Monday when he unveiled legislation that would undo the governor’s landmark SAFE Act. Collins’ Second Amendment Guarantee Act would overturn state gun control laws that are stricter than federal laws, and prevent states from enacting such stringent measures in the future. For his part, Cuomo threatened to sue if this legislation is passed.

RELATED: Chris Collins is Trump's biggest booster in New York

Niagara Falls or the black lagoon?

Niagara Falls black sludge

Tourists were disgusted by a black plume of waste on the New York side of Niagara Falls after the Niagara Falls Water Board emptied a sewage basin at the end of July. The Water Board claimed it has a permit to discharge wastewater, but Cuomo called on the state Department of Environmental Conservation to investigate. The situation even angered Canadians, as the dump might violate the U.S.-Canadian Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Cuomo says one thing, Board of Elections does another

Andrew Cuomo screaming

Despite Cuomo’s fiery pronouncement last month that the state would not send requested voter data to the Trump administration’s voter integrity commission, the state Board of Elections decided otherwise. The board announced at its monthly meeting on Wednesday that it would provide the data, although much of it was already publicly available. However, Cuomo’s administration was quick to note that the commission would get less information than it originally requested. 

Grace Segers
is City & State’s digital reporter. She writes daily content on New York City and New York state politics.