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De Blasio Isn't Sure He'll Be Invited to Second Avenue Subway Opening

By Jeff Mays | December 13, 2016 6:20pm
 Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio tour the area affected by a bomb in Chelsea.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio tour the area affected by a bomb in Chelsea.
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Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

NEW YORK CITY — Not only does Mayor Bill de Blasio not know when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will complete the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway, he isn't sure that he'll be invited to the event.

"I'd love to be there," de Blasio said at a press conference Tuesday when asked if he'd been invited.

The MTA is controlled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo whom de Blasio has feuded with for almost as long as he has been mayor. As part of that feud, Cuomo famously shut down the subway system for a snowstorm and gave de Blasio only 15 minutes notice.

Most recently, during the Chelsea bombing, de Blasio and Cuomo had planned separate appearances until people on social media began questioning why they couldn't cooperate during a crisis.

► READ MORE: De Blasio and Cuomo Rift Returns During Chelsea Bombing Response

The two ultimately appeared together in a photo-op touring the site.

Even though the state controls the MTA, the city contributes hundreds of millions to its operation each year and recently agreed to a record $2.5 billion contribution to its capital plan.

The subway is also the oil that makes the city run smoothly so that its 8.5 million residents can contribute billions in tax revenue to the state and federal governments. The Second Avenue Subway is the first major expansion of the city's train system in five decades.

"There's no question the mayor should be at the opening of the biggest piece of new infrastructure in recent New York City history, one that will affect the lives of millions of New Yorkers," said Evan Thies, co-founder of political consulting firm Pythia Public Affairs.

The MTA is racing to complete the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway by the end of the year. MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast said Monday that he was "cautiously optimistic" that the portion of the line would be completed in time.

►READ MORE: MTA 'Cautiously Optimistic' Second Avenue Subway Will Open On Time

The governor's office said the subway opening event has not been planned yet.

“We are still pushing hard and cautiously optimistic for a Jan. 1 opening, but a date has not been set, invites have not gone out and an event has not yet been planned,” said Cuomo spokeswoman Abbey Fashouer.

De Blasio said many people are interested in when the line would be completed.

"That's on a need to know basis. That's like the biggest secret in New York City. I don't know the exact day. I hope it will be on schedule," said the mayor. "I think it’s a great moment for New York City and a hard-won victory."