Last Thursday, gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon joined State Senate candidate Jessica Ramos in Jackson Heights to demand fixes to the “decrepit” 7 line.
They were responding to a Daily News report that there were two derailments in January 2017 near the Mets-Willets Point station. When inspectors checked further into why the cars slid off the tracks, they found that half of the wheel flanges on the 7 train fleet were worn down.
“The lack of safety for riders is completely unacceptable,” Ramos said, standing in the lower level of the 74th Street stop. “We cannot continue being the greatest city in the world when our transportation system isn’t working.”
Ramos called on both Governor Andrew Cuomo and her opponent, State Senator Jose Peralta, to make the MTA a priority moving forward.
“We certainly will once we arrive in Albany in January,” she said.
Nixon pointed to the 7 train report as the latest in a string of examples of the disinvestment of New York City’s subways. Last month, the ceiling collapsed at the Borough Hall station in Downtown Brooklyn, injuring a straphanger who was standing on the platform.
Last week, Nixon noted, several stations were flooded from “nothing more serious than a passing summer storm.” The L train platform at Dekalb Avenue in Bushwick had an “actual waterfall” coming from the ceiling.
She pointed the finger squarely at her opponent, Cuomo, for ignoring the MTA’s problems for the last seven years. Nixon accused Cuomo of pulling money from the MTA system “like an ATM.”
“He is legally responsible for funding our subways, but he has come up with no plan to fund it,” she said. “He has continued to shirk his obligation, and attempts to place more and more responsibility for funding on straphangers, who have already given so much.
The gubernatorial hopeful has her own plan to pay for the MTA’s “Fast Forward” modernization proposal, using a mixture of congestion pricing, a millionaire’s tax and a polluter’s fee.
She blasted Cuomo for not making the MTA a priority because “he and his donors simply don’t ride them.”
“The subways can and must be an engine of economic opportunity and advancement for all New Yorkers,” Nixon said. “We just need a governor with the political will to make it happen.”
After their harsh words, Nixon, Ramos and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who is supporting both candidates against the incumbents, took the 7 train to Woodside, where they campaigned and spoke to commuters. They also dropped by the Stop Inn Diner near the station.
On Twitter, MTA spokesman Jon Weinstein called the candidates’ accusations about the 7 train inspections “flat out false.” He explained that wheels are regularly measured for wear approximately every 75 days.
When required, the flanges are trimmed so all four wheels on the train are the same size. If a wheel fails a measurement, Weinstein said, it’s taken out of service, trued and then put back into service.
“Completely untrue and at no point ever was a 7 train that failed an inspection in passenger service,” he wrote. “This is all just blatantly wrong.”