Janet Babin, Economic Development Reporter, WNYC News
Janet Babin is a reporter at WNYC covering economic development.
NY MTA Chief Joe Lhota is apologizing for comments he made about Harlem lawmaker Bill Perkins. But Lhota remains against a bill from Senator Perkins, that would ban eating in the subway.
The proposed law would fine people who eat in the subway up to 250-dollars. Lhota said in the New York Times that as a legislator, “Perkins does nothing but talk and talk and talk, and he does nothing.”
In a statement, the M-T-A chief apologized to Perkins and called him an excellent legislator. Lhota also said he shares Perkins commitment to addressing the problem of rats on the subway.
But in the article, Lhota also linked the rat problem to minority children. Lhota said Perkins bill “severely hurts and impacts minority communities. I don’t want to deny the kid the only time that day he’s going to get food,” Lhota said in the New York Times.
Senator Perkins called Lhota’s remarks “odd and offensive.” “I hope his apology extends to recognizing that this is not a race issue, but a quality of life issue,” said Perkins. Still, the Senator said he respects Lhota for apologizing and looks forward to working with him.
In a story last week, Transportation Nation reported that rats in the subway are far less dangerous than once thought.