October 8, 2015
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – Concerned this week that continued dithering between the city and state could delay the MTA’s five-year capital plan and threaten jobs — the head of District Council 9 New York IUPAT, Painters and Allied Trades, is calling on the de Blasio administration to kick in about $3 billion to help close the budget gap.
“Despite enjoying a multi-billion-dollar surplus, City Hall is refusing to commit to making the necessary investments to fund the transportation system that literally moves New York,” DC 9 Business Manager Joseph Azzopardi said in a statement. “This lack of commitment is putting vital projects, the transportation needs of residents, and the economy of an entire city in jeopardy.”
The latest high-profile dustup between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio has the two Democrats sparring over how best to close the roughly $10 billion budget hole peeking out of the MTA’s massive five-year capital plan.
Albany has committed $8 billion to the plan, but the governor wants the City of New York to cough up another $3.2 billion.
Mayor de Blasio, however, is reticent about contributing more than the $657 million the city has already pledged, in part, because of fears the money could ultimately be siphoned away in a bureaucratic state bloodletting somewhere down the line.
But that rationale doesn’t wash with the union representing mass transit workers, and they’ve been very vocal in their opposition. TWU Local 100 is worried that the mayor’s reluctance is hurting the 3,000 members relying on the MTA’s capital plan for their jobs, as well as jeopardizing the entire system’s upkeep.
Union President John Samuelson hailed DC9’s support.
“Just like TWU, the New York City construction trades have a lot riding on fully funded capital plan,” Samuelsen said. “It’s in everybody’s best interest to have a safe, reliable transit system and we’re pleased to have the painters with us.”
It remains to be seen which other members of the Construction Trades might next urge Mayor de Blasio to act. The umbrella organization represents some 120,000 workers in New York.