In Rebuke to Cuomo, Lawmakers Balk at His Plans for M.T.A. Leadership

It was unclear whether the State Assembly, which Democrats also control, would move to vote on the bill.

Mr. Cuomo is in the midst of multiple state and federal investigations into sexual harassment accusations made against him by former and current female aides, his handling of nursing home deaths during the pandemic and a $5.1 million book deal.

Many of New York’s top Democrats have called on Mr. Cuomo to resign. And with the party’s majorities in both legislative houses big enough to override any veto he might issue, many lawmakers have sought to use the scandals he is embroiled in to secure their own priorities. Those have included scaling back the emergency powers Mr. Cuomo held during the pandemic and raising taxes on the wealthy, something he had long opposed.

Rachael Fauss, the senior research analyst for Reinvent Albany, a watchdog group, said the lawmakers’ decision not to support Mr. Cuomo’s proposal signaled that major policy decisions about the transit authority would need greater public and legislative input.

“I think it shows that there’s a shift in the power dynamic between the governor and legislature,” Ms. Fauss said. “In the past, major M.T.A. changes have happened at the direction of the governor at the last minute, and this time the Legislature said no.”

Ben Fried, a spokesman for TransitCenter, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, said the authority’s current leadership structure, with the chair and chief executive roles combined, ensured greater accountability because it placed one person at the top.

“It’s clearer whose in charge,” Mr. Fried said. “There’s no ambiguity.”

Despite the lawmakers’ move, Mr. Cuomo is still the person commuters should ultimately hold accountable for the vast public transit system’s performance, said Danny Pearlstein, a spokesman for Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy group.



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