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Video, Audio, Photos, & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul and MTA Chair and CEO Lieber Commend Heroic MTA Workers at April Board Meeting

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Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chair and CEO Janno Lieber commended 18 heroic MTA workers for their life-saving actions responding to the shooting at the 36 St station on Tuesday, April 12. The decisive actions of these 18 MTA employees helped to ensure the safety of passengers during the Sunset Park subway incident. The ceremony marked the first time that a sitting governor visited an MTA Board meeting.

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.  

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AUDIO of the event is available here.  

PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor’s Flickr page.  

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:  

Good morning. Since Janno pointed out I was the first sitting governor, I also want to see if I could be the first standing governor, too. That’s why I thought I’d come over here. This is an honor for me, first of all, to our MTA board. It’s not always easy. Sometimes you agree to do something, you’re not quite sure what you’re getting into. And there are certainly slings and arrows in all of our lines of work, but you show up every day as well. And I thank you for your commitment to ensuring the finest transportation system on this planet that is occurring right here because of your leadership.

And of course, the great leadership of Janno Lieber, who I am in awe of every single day. The responsibility that he has and the way he approaches his enormous duties, I’m really proud of you. Proud to have you at my side. So, to Janno Lieber.

And Craig Cipriano. I want to thank him for being the interim president to the New York City transit. Let’s always get rid of the word interim. I don’t like interim words. I didn’t like that with you, I don’t like that.

Also Sarah Meyer, our Chief Customer Officer from the MTA, thank you.

Demetrius Crichlow, I want to thank him for his work on the subways. Just rode in on the five train. It was great. Everybody had their mask on and they looked – I could tell they were smiling to have the privilege to wear the mask. I somehow picked up on this vibe. They all seemed really happy to be there. It was phenomenal. It was just a reminder of this is an incredible system and it works so well.

And also our representatives from TWU 100. Tony Utano couldn’t be here today, but I want to thank Richard Davis, the Chief of Staff, for being here as well.

So, today is not about us, it’s about the individuals who, as Janno mentioned, started out their normal days thinking it was going to be just an ordinary Tuesday. And you have titles like supervisor, train operators, conductor, cleaner, manager. While you had those titles, when you woke up, by the end of the day you also had a new title and that was our hero. You are our heroes, and while none of you went into this profession in search of that, I guarantee it, but simply by having the resiliency, the courage to keep doing what you do every day, but on this extraordinary day, you showed true grit and courage, like only New Yorkers can.

And that is why we come here to show appreciation for what you had to endure, the images that you saw and experienced, I’m sure are seared in your minds. No one ever expects to see bloodstained platforms or people on the ground with wounds. That was not what you expected, but you reacted like professionals and you made us all so very proud. And I can’t tell you what that means to be the Governor of a state with workers like you, who just make us all shine.

The entire state, 20 million New Yorkers, are proud of what you’ve accomplished. You had your own risk, you took a risk to your own safety. You didn’t know if there were others, you didn’t know what you were heading into. Just like a firefighter goes into a line of fire. You did your jobs beautifully.

And for that, we are so grateful and you kept calm. You help terrified New Yorkers in search of leadership at that time, when they’re like, who do we turn to? You showed up and you helped them as well. And that just warms my heart and we’re forever grateful for the aid you provided to passengers and working with the investigators and the response to make sure that the crime scene wasn’t disturbed.

This person was on the loose. We didn’t know what else he was capable of doing, when you have a heart so depraved that you would shoot children on their way to school, children that I spent the evening with, their parents. And saw the fear in their eyes and consoled them, sometimes through interpreters, it was a painful day on many ends, but all I knew was I didn’t have to worry about the role you played. That was never in question. It was incredible.

And I’ll also say that our riders, who we cherish, deserve to have not just exceptional public servants like yourselves at the helm, they also deserve a riding experience free from fear. And that is what we are committed to do. This board, this city, this state, this leadership to ensure that the public is not just feeling safe, but they are safe.

And that is our commitment that we go forth knowing that we have you as part of our army to protect our riders, to get them there safely, but also to send a message to those who dare violate the safety and security of our riders. You’ve gone too far. You’ve picked a fight you don’t want to have, and we’re ready for you.

And we’re working with the Mayor and his commitment to send even more resources. So there are more police officers on platforms and in trains and our work with our law enforcement and the synergy that was not there in the past that I tell you, is there today. This collaboration, this need no boundaries and titles and jurisdictions. We’re all in this together. And so we’re going to continue making sure we address the issue with respect to individuals who should not be living on a subway or in a station, they deserve better.

They deserve the sanctity of a good, safe roof over their heads as well. So I’m committed and have been recommitted since I stood with Mayor Adams on his first week on the job. Stood in the subway and said, they’re going to get these teams out there, these professional, mental health professionals to help lift these people up and help them heal and get a different opportunity in life and not to be there.

But also for those who feel, they can just bring weapons onto our trains and terrorize people, no longer, no longer. We’re going to protect the people that were charged with protecting. And it started months ago, but it’s continuing with a reminder of what happened this past two Tuesdays ago. And we are even more committed. So we know how critically important the MTA is. It’s the lifeline of our city. I enjoy taking it, I talk about potholes when I traveled the whole state, I didn’t feel any potholes, it was nice and smooth ride down, it was great. It was nice. Very nice. But I also want to think about, are there opportunities unrelated to this event.

But while I’m here, I also want to talk about the rethinking of the AirTrain. Okay, what are our options? We’re going to need real leadership between the MTA and the Port Authority and the Governor’s Office. And we’ll get that done. And I also just want to reminder we convened an expert panel. They’re now engaged, as I’ve asked them to be, engaged with the community, getting the best ideas there’s ideas they came up with, but what does the community want? This is their mode of transportation. We need to look at the 14 options, everything from direct connections from the subway, bus options, a ferry option, all kinds of exciting things. But in the meantime, every once in a while, I peruse at the newspapers. Saw a rather enlightened editorial, Daily News. And they suggested that we make the fares on the Q70 free.

I thought that made a lot of sense that the Q70 bus could be this interim means to let people know that this is a good way to get from the airport to the next station, 10 minutes away. So when there’s ideas that are out there that make sense to us, we’re not going to debate it and study it and think about it for a long time, I’m a person of action. And fortunately, I have people of action around me who will say, “Yes, let’s get that done.” So I’ll be looking for continued support for this. And I’m saying we’re approaching May, let’s get it done on May 1st. So starting May 1st, the fares on the Q70 bus will be suspended while we’re going through our process of alternative means with the AirTrain. So, let’s just give people a little bit of good news here today as well. So I wanted to make that announcement while I was here with you. But at this point, it is time to recognize the people that I know don’t feel like they’re heroes, but I’m sorry, you are, to us. You are to us, and your families and your community. And we’re so indebted for what you did on that day, two weeks ago. Thank you.



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