Andrew Gounardes and his fellow Bay Ridge Democrats know how to throw out the trash-talking verbage on State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay, Borough Park, Midwood) but when it comes to legislation, they apparently like some of the things the GOPer is doing.
Gounardes, who along with Ross Barkan, is one of two Democrats vying for a chance to take Golden on in the November general election for the 22nd State Senate District seat. His campaign has recently been handing out literature touting his plan to create a lockbox for transit funds to guarantee a dedicated revenue stream for desperately needed upgrades and repairs.
The idea comes directly from a bill S6807, in which Golden was the prime sponsor, that prohibits a diversion of funds dedicated to public transportation systems.
Co-sponsoring the measure were three Democrats including Senators Tony Avella (D-Queens), Luis Sepulveda (D-Bronx) and Timothy Kennedy (D-Buffalo). The bill passed both the assembly and the senate.
It is not Golden’s first attempt to pass this legislation and it was previously vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It is unclear whether the current measure was delivered to Cuomo’s desk, but if he did not sign it by now, it is considered a “pocket veto” (failure to act) which has the same effect as a veto.
When contacted on the mailer Gounardes begrudging acknowledged Golden’s work on creating a lockbox for transit funding, but alleged Golden has been pilfering the MTA’s operating budget.
“Marty Golden doesn’t support his own lockbox bill, as evidenced by the fact that he voted to divert nearly $500 million from the MTA’s operating budget in the past six years,” said Gounardes. “When I’m elected to the State Senate, I’ll fight to keep transit funds dedicated solely to transit, and make sure the MTA is fully accessible and accountable to all riders.”
When pressed on how exactly Golden took funding from the MTA’s operating budget he said it came from the state’s general budget dating back to 2011-12.
But Golden Campaign Spokesperson Michael Tobman said Gounardes is playing fast and loose with those figures, and Golden’s measure was taken seriously by colleagues in both chambers of government and on both sides of the aisle.
“Mr. Gounardes is mixing apples with bowling balls. He was either campaigning for legislation Senator Golden passed through the Senate only to be vetoed by Governor Cuomo, or he wasn’t,” said Tobman.
“We’d be happy to make it official, have Mr. Gounardes come on board as Chairman of MTA Reformers for Marty Golden,” he added.
The Democratic primary is Sept. 13. The general election is Nov. 6.