Anyone who’s ridden the subway in New York in the past decade knows that the city’s public transit system is in decay. As a city dweller myself for a few months, I witnessed it firsthand, and saw the frustration of those who use it every day.

So did Cynthia Nixon.

The actress of Sex and the City fame decided to challenge incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination in this past Thursday’s primary elections.

While the results of the election weren’t good for Nixon, she was able to tap into the anger over the decrepit public transportation system in New York City. Transportation is a perennial issue in New York’s statewide elections, and this year’s contests were no exception. Nixon ran a transportation-centric campaign, complete with subway themed attack tweets against Cuomo.

Her supporters joined in on the online criticism using the hashtag #CuomosMTA, a reference to the fact that the Governor appoints a majority of the Metropolitan Transportation Agency’s board.

The day before the election, Nixon released her final campaign ad, which was totally focused on the subway.

For his part, the Governor did highlight some transportation issues during his campaign. At the end of June, he announced over $57 million in new funding for upstate infrastructure projects. He also opened the second span of the new Mario Cuomo Bridge, built to replace the aging Tappan Zee Bridge connecting the downstate Westchester and Rockland counties. Cuomo faced criticism for opening the bridge only a few days before Thursday’s primary, especially after the public opening had to be delayed because the old bridge was structurally unsound and could have crashed onto the new bridge.

This primary season exposed just how influential transportation issues can be in an election. Some angry New Yorkers were willing to send a first-time politician to Albany over a decaying subway system, while upstate voters rewarded an incumbent who supported infrastructure improvements in their areas.

Header photo: A train waits at a subway stop in Coney Island, Brooklyn (Creative Commons).

Advertisements