The partisan issues that have stalled Albany in the past took a turn for the worse when Republican state senator Tom Croci left to rejoin the Navy, leaving the chamber deadlocked at 31 Democrats and 31 Republicans (which includes the vote of State Senator Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, technically a Democrat).
Many had hoped Croci would return to cast some votes, but he decided to just stay away.
Heck, even Governor Andrew Cuomo was nowhere to be seen, opting to spend his time outside Albany weighing in whenever he could on the family separation issues at the southern border, which has little to do with the nuts and bolts of running New York State, which he was ostensibly elected to do.
Unless his governorship was all just a long con to get a bridge named after his daddy, in which case, good work!
Among the issues that were left unresolved included reauthorizing speed cameras in the city's schools zones, which unless there is a special legislative session, which seems unlikely, will be turned off next month.
Also left up in the air was a plan to create a temporary HOV lane on the Williamsburg Bridge to help ease congestion when the L train shuts down next year. It passed the Assembly, but like the speed cameras died when it reached the other house, which is now incapable of taking vote on anything.
Assemblyman Joseph Lentol of North Brooklyn issued this dire warning to his colleagues: “The Republican senators who failed to bring this measure to a vote may be very surprised when their constituents arrive in Brooklyn off the LIRR next April and don’t have a space on the subways.”
For his part, Cuomo said it would be up to the voters to decide in November if they were happy with the way Albany is functioning. So much for the old adage “the buck stops here!”
Well, one buck did stop there. Cuomo had no problem making sure both the Assembly and State Senate passed last-minute bills that would give the state the power of eminent domain to take land for a train from LaGuardia to Willets Point.
Ostensibly, the CuomoTrain will be used by travelers who will go to and from Manhattan via its connection to the LIRR.
Of course they will, because that has worked so well with the JFK AirTrain!
Business travelers will still expense a cab ride to the airport because it's more convenient and free to them, and tourists will still take a car rather than lug their luggage on two trains.
Sure, there will be some hearty Lonely Planet backpackers who will take advantage of a cheaper-than-a-cab seat into the city, but not enough to justify its cost.
And outside of the folks who live along the 7 line, it won't do much for people living in Brooklyn and Queens, which make up over half the population of New York City and a large percentage of the people flying in and out of the city's two airports.
But the LGA CuomoTrain is really just a bait-and-switch. What we believe is really in store is a huge rental car facility at Willets Point, which will be conveniently accessed via the new CuomoTrain.
In other words, the LGA CuomoTrain won't actually help with congestion on the city's roadways, it's going to promote it.