July 20, 2018 By Tara Law
Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon and State Senate candidate Jessica Ramos held a press conference at the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue subway station yesterday and claimed that the state has not provided enough funding to ensure riders’ safety.
Nixon and Ramos, who is running to replace state Sen. Jose Peralta, blamed Albany for failing to fund fixes that they say could have prevented two derailings on the 7 line last year. They rode the 7 line from Jackson Heights to Woodside with Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer to call attention to the problem.
The trio blamed Governor Andrew Cuomo and other elected officials for failing to fund safety repairs. Nixon accused the governor of using the MTA’s budget for his own “pet projects.”
“He uses the MTA like an ATM,” Nixon said. “Not only are there serious safety concerns, but delayed service is also devastating to low-income New Yorkers’ financial concerns. Once and for all, it is the Governor who controls the MTA and is responsible for its funding— and he has blatantly failed New Yorkers.”
Ramos echoed Nixon and cited a Daily News article which she said revealed that half the 7
line cars were running on worn-down wheels.
“The 7 train is a staple of life in Queens,” Ramos said. “Tens of thousands of us take it every day— to go to work, to school, to the doctor, to visit family. Meanwhile, our elected officials continue to ignore the fact that the wheels are worn down on half of all 7 trains. We are in danger— simply because our representatives refuse to prioritize our safety.”
However, the content of the article in question differed from Ramos’ statement.
The Daily News described the conditions of the 7 line train fleet after the incidents, but noted that the MTA had fixed the trains after discovering the issue.
The MTA argued after the press conference that Ramos misstated the Daily News’ article’s findings.
The agency said that a problem switch at Willets had suddenly worn down the wheels. The switch was modified after the incidents, and that an automated lubrication system had been installed on the line.
Jon Weinstein, director of communications of the MTA, wrote on Twitter that it is “flat out false” to suggest that the MTA puts trains with worn down wheels back into passenger service.
The MTA also said that train wheels are measured every 75 days, and when required, they are trimmed or “trued” so the four wheels on every “truck” are the same size. Wheels that fail inspection are taken out of service, repaired and then put back into service, the MTA said.