Garcia calls out Diaz on subway service

Metrocard dust up between candidates

In an email to supporters and reporters, Elvin Garcia, a Democrat running for City Council in District 18, accused rival Sen. Rev. Rubén Díaz of being AWOL on the deteriorating subway service experienced by Bronx commuters.

Specifically, Garcia says Sen. Díaz hasn’t owned a Metrocard since the days of tokens and accuses him of being “out of touch with working people.”

Garcia added that the legislative session ended without having held Metropolitan Transportation Authority oversight hearings or inquiries during this year’s historic spike in MTA transit delays. It should be noted that Sen. Díaz doesn’t chair the Senate’s committee that oversees the MTA.

Garcia also sought to take Díaz to task for failing “to put pressure on Governor Cuomo to fix the  [subway] problem.”

On Wednesday evening, Governor Cuomo named Joseph Lhota as the new board chairman of the MTA. The state Senate promptly approved his nomination. This will be a second tour of duty at the MTA by the highly regarded Joe Lhota.

Joe Lhota, MTA Board Chairman, 2017

Joe Lhota, MTA Board Chairman, 2017

Lhota earned kudos for his swift handling of getting mass transit up and running soon after the devastating Hurricane Sandy ten years ago. Back then, Lhota was both executive director and chairman of the MTA. Cuomo is searching for a permanent executive director. Veronique Hakim is the acting ED.

When the Bronx Chronicle asked Democrat Michael Beltzer for his thoughts, he said, “The problems our public transit system faces today is due to leadership focusing on the wrong things, like paint jobs, USB ports and boats instead of the nuts and bolts that make our system run. It’s time to get serious about our infrastructure to ensure we can get to work while creating more work.”

“Fund a infrastructure bank now,” suggested Beltzer.

Another candidate vying for City Council, Amanda Farias said via email, “The MTA is a state agency and so the buck stops with Governor Cuomo. But Senator Diaz is supposed to be the person who advocates for our district on state issues.”

“If we couldn’t trust Senator Diaz to be our voice in Albany on this, how can we rely on him for anything else?” she added.

When asked for a comment regarding the charges made by Elvin Garcia, the Diaz camp did not respond before press time.

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