By Jill Colvin
CITY HALL — Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino set his sights on the MTA Wednesday, blasting New York's Transit Authority as a bloated "bureaucratic beast."
"The MTA is horribly mismanaged, and it's a sinkhole of money," Paladino said in a statement released by his campaign.
"The bottom line is the MTA as we know it today, needs to be abolished," he said.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz declined to respond.
The criticism comes as Paladino tries to shift focus after three days spent defending controversial anti-gay comments that he made Sunday to a group of Brooklyn rabbis.
The MTA recently announced that it will hike fares on Dec. 30 to close a budget gap, despite widespread opposition.
Under Paladino's proposed plan, the authority would be taken over by the governor and become a state agency, overseen by Albany lawmakers. Paladino said he modeled his plan on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's takeover of city schools.
At a press conference Wednesday, Bloomberg said he had considered trying to run the authority back in 2001, but decided against it because of the cost.
"If the state wants to take over our billion and a half dollar obligation, I'd certainly be happy to talk to anybody," he said. But, he added, "I don't know how practical that is. It sounds to me like it's probably not."
The MTA has become a popular target for candidates courting city voters this election.
During an attorney general debate last week, Democratic attorney general candidate Sen. Eric Schneiderman labeled it a "wasteland" of mismanagement and vowed to "clean it up" if he wins.