Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo is a Guest on 1010 WINS Radio with Donna Vaughan

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Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo is a Guest on...

Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo is a Guest on 1010 Wins Radio with Donna Vaughan

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was a guest on 1010 WINS with Donna Vaughan.

A rush transcript of the Governor's interview is available below:

Donna Vaughan: Governor Cuomo is in New York City today following an early morning tour of a damaged tunnel under the East River—the one that's led to a planned 15-month shutdown of the L train while it's rehabbed. Joining us live now to talk about that, as well as other topics of interest to New Yorkers today is Governor Cuomo. Good afternoon, Governor.

Governor Cuomo: Good afternoon to you. Thank you for having me.

Donna Vaughan: Thank you for joining us. Now apparently you're holding out hope that the L train shutdown might not have to be as painful as planned. But it's been in the works for so long, can anything really change at this point?

Governor Cuomo: I'm not holding out hope for a change. I think New Yorkers—and I'm a Queens boy originally, listening to the traffic on the Grand Central Parkway—I think New Yorkers are willing to bear the expense and the burden of change and they get that sometimes big projects are required, but they want to make sure that it's really done right and it really has to be done. We went through this on whether or not we need a new LaGuardia Airport. Do we really need it? Do we really need a new Kosciuszko Bridge? Do we really need gun control? And now we have a big question: do we really need to close the train for 15 months. And it's going to cause all sorts of hardship. We have been pushing the MTA for years to come up with the best and fastest plan. Were all united on it. I've been pushing them, the Mayor has been pushing them, et cetera. They say they've come up with the best plan possible and 15 months is the shortest time possible and they have all sorts of consultants who say that also.

They now have a final plan. They've been doing some preliminary work, but they have a final plan for the tunnel closing. The tunnel is supposed to close in four months and I just want to be doubly sure that everything that can be done has been done, and when people come up to me on the street and say, did you check and make sure that everything can be done? I can look them in the eye and say yes. So, we assembled literally the best people on the globe, the Dean of Cornell Engineering School, the Dean of Columbia Engineering School, they put together great teams. They're a totally fresh set of eyes, they're looking at the plans, they're looking at the tunnel. And whatever they say, fine. If they say this is the best we can do, 15 months is the shortest period of time, I think that will give New Yorkers confidence. If they have positive suggestions, last night they were talking about things that China's doing and other countries are doing, and news types of cable. If they have a positive suggestion that can make it better, even better. But more than anything I want to be able to look New Yorkers in the eye and say, 'Yes. We had to do LaGuardia. We had to do the Kosciusko Bridge. We had to do gun control, people were dying. And yes, we had to close this tunnel to make the repairs.'

Donna Vaughan: Alright, well we like to be optimistic so we're going to hold out some hope and wait to hear back after the experts weigh in. Next subject for you today, Governor, congestion pricing, of course meaning tolls on trips to Manhattan at peak times. This wasn't a very popular idea in Albany not so long ago. Now we're hearing it may have some traction. What are your thoughts?

Governor Cuomo: Well, it's not a popular idea. Tolls are never a popular idea. Mayor Bloomberg tried it. The concept, I think, is right. You have to reduce congestion in Manhattan. Forget the tolls for a second, you have to reduce congestion because even the buses don't work, and even the cabs don't work. You could almost get anywhere faster by walking. So you have to reduce congestion. You also have to come up with a dedicated funding stream for the MTA long term. What congestion pricing says is rather than focusing on the tolls on the bridges etcetera, focusing on tolling the central business district of Manhattan. That's where the congestion is. As I said I'm a Queens boy. You drive from Queens to the Bronx, you don't really have much of a congestion problem. It's in Manhattan. So, come up with a tolling scheme for the central business district, during peak hours, that have people pay tolls to enter that area. And that is smart. It's politically difficult. It always has been. But there's not a lot of alternatives either. This has been done in other countries around the globe and it's had good success. So it's something we're going to be pushing this year.

Donna Vaughan: Alright, now in your mind, would congestion pricing be tied to the funding of subway repairs?

Governor Cuomo: Yes. Yes. Definitely.

Donna Vaughan: Alright, now you're joining us today, Governor, with less than a month to go of course before the new year begins. You're scheduled to roll out your 2019 agenda in a speech here in the city on Monday. Do you plan to share specifics about your plan to legalize medical marijuana?

Governor Cuomo: Yes. But I can't tell you that because then I would be stepping on my news. But as I actually told you that already, I guess it's too late. I'm doing it a little differently this year because this is a different year. The political atmosphere is unlike anything we've seen before. We have anarchy in Washington. I don't care if you're a democrat or a republican. There is anarchy in Washington. They are not getting anything done. They are hostile to New York. Many of the laws they're passing are hostile to the values of New Yorkers, discrimination laws, rolling back a woman's right to choose. They passed a tax reform plan in Washington that targets New York State for higher taxes. So, this is a much different year given the assault of the federal government and the topics for Monday is what would FDR do at this time of national crisis? FDR was a great New York governor at a time of great economic crisis. More, we have a great social crisis. But the Roosevelt Center at CUNY is doing that forum and I'm going to use that as an opportunity it put forth my legislative initiatives with a sense of urgency, which is what FDR brought to government. FDR was a very powerful, impatient, aggressive personality who really believed New York should lead the way. And it's an interesting question for me: what would FDR do today? My father wrote a book: what would Lincoln do today? If you take their principles and apply it to today's problems, what would they do? And there's no doubt that New York has to stand up for itself and we have to fight Washington and we have to protect ourselves and we need state laws that do that. And that's what I'm going to roll through on Monday.

Donna Vaughan: Governor Cuomo joining us live here on 1010 WINS while he's in the City today. Governor, thanks so much for joining us.

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