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GojiMet86

Cuomo had the MTA waste $30M on tunnel vanity project

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https://nypost.com/2018/07/22/cuomo-had-the-mta-waste-30m-on-tunnel-vanity-project/

 

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Cuomo had the MTA waste $30M on tunnel vanity project

By Danielle Furfaro, Lois Weiss and Nolan Hicks

July 22, 2018 | 11:42pm |

 

cuomo-tunnel.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=

 

 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the cash-strapped MTA to waste as much as $30 million on his latest vanity project — retiling two city tunnels in the state’s blue-and-gold color scheme — instead of using the dough for desperately needed subway repairs, The Post has learned.

The boondoggle began soon after the taxpayer-funded agency ordered white tiles to reline the Brooklyn-Battery and Queens-Midtown tunnels after Superstorm Sandy, documents show.

The governor got wind of the plan — and insisted that the cash-strapped transit agency add stripes of blue and gold, thinking nothing of the additional $20 million to $30 million cost, according to sources and project documentation.

“The white tile had already been ordered, but he insisted that [the walls] be in the state colors,’’ a top construction executive told The Post.

Another builder confirmed that Cuomo ordered the super-costly tile change.

The move now has some on the MTA board seeing red. “We could have found much better uses for that money — especially because most people are speeding through the tunnels and not paying attention to what is on the walls,” seethed board member Andrew Albert.

A second member added, “This is exactly the type of distraction, expense and use of the MTA by the governor as a marketing tool that is at the root of many of our problems.”

The Cuomo-controlled MTA quietly approved the change in November 2016, just months before straphangers endured the “Summer of Hell” as years of neglect caught up with the system.

The MTA is still struggling to find cash to overhaul its decrepit subway signal system, replace decades-old trains and repair crumbling stations.

The MTA buried Cuomo’s tile change in two contract amendments worth $62.6 million.

Gavin Masterson, chief procurement officer of the Bridges and Tunnels division, described the changes at a committee meeting as “modifications to meet New York State branding guidelines.”

The MTA refused to make the contracts available to The Post.

The governor cut the ribbon at the Queens-Midtown Tunnel on Friday, revealing the blue and gold stripes that run its length — and quipped about the added burden.

“These construction workers had an added burden to deal with because every time I went through the tunnel, I would get out, and I would call them over and say, ‘You see this tile is crooked,’ ” Cuomo said.

But the micro-managing is no laughing matter to some workers, who say it’s gotten so bad, they call him “Chief Engineer Cuomo.”

The tunnels are just the latest example of Cuomo’s vanity spending. His office bragged in 2016 about painting the MTA’s new subway cars in the blue-and-gold color scheme, which later appeared on the MTA’s new city buses. State police cars have been repainted in the same colors.

Straphangers were outraged over the wasteful spending.

“I don’t know what cousin of [Cuomo’s] works at what agency that cooked up this idea,” said Katrina Brinkley, 39, as she stood under a dangling wire inside the crumbling Chambers Street J/Z station near City Hall — where missing tiles and leaking ceilings are the norm.

“This station is decrepit. That money could go to so many other things.”

Le-André Ramroop of Brooklyn added, “Has [Cuomo] ever seen this place? Has he been down here?”

MTA rep Jon Weinstein did not dispute the pricy tile change, only saying, “There were absolutely no wasted tiles. “The tunnel reconstruction project is an unmitigated success — finished nine months ahead of schedule and with resiliency and security measures that protect millions of New Yorkers.”

Cuomo spokesman Peter Ajemian added, “We’re proud that we completed this project on budget and ahead of schedule thanks to the men and women at the MTA and other partners.”

 

 

 

 

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Show of hands, who's really surprised?

This is just another in a growing list of Cuomo's misguided priorities. Light shows on the bridges, USB ports on every surface imaginable and now the state colors everywhere - he's not exactly being subtle here. He knows he can get away with it because he's pretty much guaranteed another term in office. Who's going to stop him? Nixon? She's down over 30 points to him in recent polling. Molinaro? Nobody outside of Dutchess county knows who he is. Cuomo has this in the bag and he's just waiting out the clock until November when he can stop pretending like he actually cares about the issues.

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Lance is right on the money as the emperor does not care about anything except himself

He has a primary but so what? He knows that the few people that will vote in the primary will vote for him and this year's primary the numbers will be worse than usual as it falls out between Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur. As far as the Republican candidate is concerned, he has not reached out to members of the party as of today and he has been the nominee for over two months. He must think that campaigns start in September when in reality, the reaching out to the voters actually starts in March with the attendance at dinners and the parades. 

There is supposed to be a fourth candidate running for governor, Stephanie Minor, the former mayor of Syracuse running as an independent but again virtually nothing has been heard about her.

 

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So let me get this straight: part of the reason why the Queens Midtown Tunnel is still one tube down on weekends (for almost two years now) has to do with this nonsense? The same reason why express bus riders are virtually pushed onto the QBL (and the (R) out of all the damn trains)? Thanks, I'll know who NOT to vote for this November.

Edited by BM5 via Woodhaven
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47 minutes ago, Lance said:

Show of hands, who's really surprised?

This is just another in a growing list of Cuomo's misguided priorities. Light shows on the bridges, USB ports on every surface imaginable and now the state colors everywhere - he's not exactly being subtle here. He knows he can get away with it because he's pretty much guaranteed another term in office. Who's going to stop him? Nixon? She's down over 30 points to him in recent polling. Molinaro? Nobody outside of Dutchess county knows who he is. Cuomo has this in the bag and he's just waiting out the clock until November when he can stop pretending like he actually cares about the issues. 

plus do you think he is posturing to run for potus against dopey donald

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2 hours ago, GojiMet86 said:

The move now has some on the MTA board seeing red. “We could have found much better uses for that money — especially because most people are speeding through the tunnels and not paying attention to what is on the walls,” seethed board member Andrew Albert.

 

30 mph at best isn't speeding. Stop and go most of the time. Inhale those fumes while your standing in the tunnel. I heard they clean your lungs.

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So who actually owns (MTA) bridges and tunnels - the City, right? (I'm talking infrastructure, not agency.)

And I don't understand why tunnels are tiled instead of just concrete or some other material that isn't prone to falling off when epoxies fail...

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12 minutes ago, Deucey said:

So who actually owns (MTA) bridges and tunnels - the City, right? (I'm talking infrastructure, not agency.)

And I don't understand why tunnels are tiled instead of just concrete or some other material that isn't prone to falling off when epoxies fail...

The MTA Bridges and Tunnels were built and owned by the Triboro Bridge and Tunnel Authority, whose successor agency is the MTA. The City doesn't own the bridges and tunnels at all, only the East River Bridges.

It's most of why an independent City TA would be so problematic.

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The story has made it to Legal Insurrection.com today and I expect it to make its way to other websites in the next couple of days.

So the New York Post article is making its way throughout the country, If the governor thinks that if he runs for president that it will not be bought up by other candidates who are running for president, then he is mistaken. If not DeBlasio, then it could be Gilibrand or Booker or Warren or any other candidate who is running for president who is looking to damage Cuomo running for president, Just add Joe Percocco, Buffalo Billions and a couple of other things, I can see him fading out soon after New Hampshire

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4 hours ago, Deucey said:

So who actually owns (MTA) bridges and tunnels - the City, right? (I'm talking infrastructure, not agency.)

And I don't understand why tunnels are tiled instead of just concrete or some other material that isn't prone to falling off when epoxies fail...

I think it's for easier cleaning, and replacing when necessary.

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4 hours ago, kosciusko said:

I thought (MTA) bridges and tunnels was funded and managed totally separately from the (MTA) Subway.

They are.

The MTA is not a unified regional agency at all; its existence is mostly to divide up a pot of money. They couldn't even integrate the railroads (see: East Side Access)

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Those stupid colored tiles cost 20 million dollars??? How is that even possible? Does that include installation costs? 

The tunnel does look nice, but I go through that tunnel every day and never even realized those tiles were the state colors lol.

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Don't want to make a new thread for this:

https://nypost.com/2018/07/24/cuomo-spent-253k-on-colored-pylons-that-may-violate-standards/

Quote

Cuomo spent $253K on colored pylons that may violate standards

By Nolan Hicks and Bruce Golding

July 24, 2018 | 10:20pm | Updated

cuomo-blue-pylons-against-federal-regula

The new blue plastic poles with bands of reflective gold tape meant to match the state's official colors in the entrance to the Battery Tunnel.

 

Gov. Cuomo has finally pushed his penchant for government branding over the line.

New York’s chief lawmaker didn’t let a little thing like federal regulations keep him from color-coordinating the lane dividers inside two East River tunnels with the pricey blue and gold vanity tiles he ordered for the walls, The Post has learned.

About 3,500 orange pylons affixed to the center of the roadways inside the Brooklyn-Battery and Queens-Midtown tunnels were replaced as part of a $588 million reconstruction project to fix flood-related damage from 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.

The new, plastic poles are blue with bands of reflective gold tape, to match the state’s official colors — and the colored tiles that Cuomo used to decorate the tunnels’ walls and ceiling, which sources have said added $20 million to $30 million to the total cost.

But unfortunately for the Empire State’s color-conscious governor, the azure uprights — which cost the MTA $253,000 — clash with the Federal Highway Administration’s standards.

According to the FHWA manual, “tubular markers” must be either completely or “predominantly” orange, or “the same color as the pavement marking that they supplement” — which in the tunnels are double white lines.

An FHWA spokesman said the blue posts don’t comply with its rules “because they are not the right color,” adding that “there may be other issues,” based on photos shot by The Post.

Spokesman Doug Hecox said his agency “will look into this issue” with the city Department of Transportation, and thanked The Post “for bringing this to our attention.”

Cuomo previously ran afoul of the FWHA over hundreds of tourism-promoting road signs that the feds deemed too distracting to motorists.

The state agreed to replace the signs earlier this year when the FWHA threatened to cancel $14 million in government funding.

Cuomo’s obsession with color is made clear in a 91-page “Brand Guidelines” manual, issued in 2015, that outlines the various shades of blue and gold which can be used to convey the state’s “personality traits,” including “inspiring,” “authentic” and “dynamic.”

MTA spokesman Jon Weinstein insisted the blue pylons “are in full compliance with federal guidelines” because they’re “lane delineators” and not “channelizing devices.”

“We’ve communicated this to the FHWA and will be glad to answer any questions they may have,” he added.

So, to recap, Cuomo spent over a quarter million on SPECIALLY ORDERED plastic bollards that don't comply with federal regulations. Instead of ordering compliant bollards that are available off-the-shelf and cheaper.

This is just like the Cuomo Sign fiasco when King Andrew spent 8 million on distracting tourism highway signs that weren't compliant with federal regulations and the FHWA forced him to take them down (they're still not all down yet, and the FHWA has already fined the state for failing them to take them down in a timely fashion).

Is he psychotic? His deciding to micromanage these things has only led to millions in waste and constant bad publicity. What does he think he's accomplishing?

Thanks to his obsession with the Royal Colors, we're going to be able to see the dirty, fading Cuomo Scheme R160s 15 years from now, long after Cuomo's presidential ambitions fizzle away in the primaries, and wonder why he didn't just do the one thing that would gain him universal support and fix the subways instead of building backwards Airtrains and plating the beleaguered transit system in USB ports.

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7 hours ago, MNR Beacon Line said:

a 91-page “Brand Guidelines” manual, issued in 2015, that outlines the various shades of blue and gold which can be used to convey the state’s “personality traits,” including “inspiring,” “authentic” and “dynamic.”

A mish-mash of buzzwords? What does “authentic” even mean in this context?

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2 hours ago, Deucey said:

So nobody told him that if the lights go out, blue could be hard to see?

Exactly. Maybe it's the picture used, but those dividers don't look they'd be all that reflective even in optimal conditions. There's a reason why yellow and orange are the usual colors of choice for road hazards. If drivers can't see them in the dark because of the blue color, they are completely useless.

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4 minutes ago, Lance said:

Exactly. Maybe it's the picture used, but those dividers don't look they'd be all that reflective even in optimal conditions. There's a reason why yellow and orange are the usual colors of choice for road hazards. If drivers can't see them in the dark because of the blue color, they are completely useless.

Yeah, see, this is another reason why I decided earlier this year to vote for the actress. I mean, I lived through Fuhrer von Schwarzenegger, and he wasn't SO bad...

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So $283 million was wasted on retiling a tunnel wall and reflective lights on poles? And fixing up the subway stations wasn't a priority because?

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6 hours ago, Deucey said:

Yeah, see, this is another reason why I decided earlier this year to vote for the actress. I mean, I lived through Fuhrer von Schwarzenegger, and he wasn't SO bad...

The track record of former actors as governors is actually not that bad.

(Showing up in Home Alone doesn't really make you a professional actor, though.)

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