Just hours before Mayor Bill de Blasio was scheduled to meet with Andy Byford for the first time, Hizzoner oddly undercut the MTA chief by saying he can’t fix the subway mess.
After a press conference in the Bronx on crime stats, de Blasio disputed Byford’s recent characterization that it was a “bit weird” the two hadn’t met six months after Byford’s appointment.
“Not at all,” de Blasio said when asked if he agreed with Byford’s statement to The New Yorker magazine.
“When it’s an agency I don’t control, I’m going to put my focus on the things I can control,” he added. “People need me to make sure the things that I control are working — there’s an endless focus on that.”
The mayor has been emphasizing for more than a year that Gov. Andrew Cuomo controls the MTA, although the city has some appointments on the authority’s board.
De Blasio also noted that his staff speaks to Byford’s staff constantly, but disputed the notion that he should be lobbying Byford on behalf of the city’s frustrated straphangers as subway delays have surged.
“Mr. Byford is not the person who can solve the problem. Only in Albany can the problem be solved,” the mayor said. “Until he has a regular revenue stream, this is all a charade. We’ve got to fix the underlying problem. He doesn’t make that decision — the governor and the legislature make that decision.”
The mayor and Byford were slated to meet for the first time Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.
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