Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joe Lhota revealed his plan to update the subway system on Tuesday, with fixes such as accelerating signal repairs, adding more cars to certain trains and even taking out subway seats on crowded routes. There are issues, like the potential for seatless cars to encourage more exuberant subway performances. More pressing is Lhota’s call to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to split the $836 million bill for this plan. While Cuomo praised Lhota’s ideas, de Blasio remained noncommittal. Also, the MTA doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to finishing projects on time – or at all. Like an impromptu subway performance, Lhota’s plan may be difficult to successfully execute.
Mr. Cuomo goes to Washington
(Darren McGee / Office of The Governor)
The governor visited Washington, D.C. on Wednesday for a friendly meeting with New York’s Democratic congressional delegation, and then a less friendly one with U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Cuomo is requesting – with limited success – the $10 billion the federal government promised during the Obama administration to fund construction of the Gateway Tunnel under the Hudson River, which has remained in limbo since President Donald Trump was inaugurated.
Few fans for trans ban
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that transgender individuals would be banned from serving in the military. The announcement caused backlash on the right and left, including from some members of New York’s GOP congressional delegation. However, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told military leaders the next day that, all tweets aside, there has been no change yet to the military's policy on transgender personnel.
Like Groundhog Day, but with health care
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Another week, another effort by the U.S. Senate to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Senate voted to open debate on health care legislation Tuesday, and then failed to pass a replacement bill that same night. A full repeal then failed Wednesday night. Finally, Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and John McCain broke ranks with fellow Republicans to vote down a “skinny” repeal on Friday morning. After seven years of trying to replace Obamacare, it’s back to the drawing board for the GOP.
Midtown East is in the zone
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In a victory for Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, the New York City Council’s Subcommittees on Zoning and Land Use approved rezoning 78 blocks of Midtown East. The measure is set to be signed off on by the full council Aug. 9. But don’t expect any dramatic new skyscrapers between East 39th and East 57th streets anytime soon – it takes money, time and deals to redevelop an area, as local companies may soon discover.
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