Governor Andrew Cuomo likes to champion large-scale infrastructure overhaulsPenn Station, JFK Airport, the Second Avenue Subway expansion. He also likes bells and whistles—WiFi on a bus, lights on a bridge, photos in a car. But as the general state of disrepair on the subway bends towards crisis state, it's become harder for him to ignore the distinctly un-flashy upkeep that helps New York City commuters get to work on time. And this week, Cuomo is doing his best to position himself as the subway's savior, glossing over the fact that he's been in the position to save it for his entire tenure, with a plurality of MTA Board votes and overarching influence.

On paper, it looks like this: Cuomo on Tuesday introduced a late-session bill to add two more state-appointed members to the MTA Board, and give the state-appointed board chair a second vote. This would give the state eight members and nine votes of a total seventeen, up from the current six votes out of fourteen.

"The MTA is in a state of crisis. Historic underfunding leaves it with obsolete equipment going back to the 1940s," Governor Cuomo stated Tuesday.

"The simple fact is if no one has the responsibility and the authority, fundamental, rapid change of any culture or system is impossible," he added.

The New York Post, meanwhile, has no illusions about who is in charge.

Nor does the press. Transit and government reporters pounced on Tuesday, dismissing the Governor's announcement as a "distraction" and a "framing" of the MTA Board.

"Governor Cuomo's MTA Board proposal obscures the very real fact that the Governor already controls the MTA," added the Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy group, in a statement.

We detailed the MTA's organizational structure last month, after Governor Cuomo attempted to distance himself by slightly different means. "I have representation on the board," Cuomo told reporters at the time. "The city of New York has representation on the board, so does Nassau, Suffolk, Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland, other counties, okay?"

That logic comes through in Cuomo's press release this week. "Currently, there is no voting majority on the MTA," it reads. "New York State currently has six seats, New York City has four seats and Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Putnam have the balance of the board's seats for a total of 14 voting seats."

Yet the fact that Cuomo already has a plurality of votes on the board is just one indicator that the governor already exacts the control that he's calling for. He also appoints the board's chair and controls the MTA's budget. And even Cuomo himself has boasted about his control when he wants to portray himself as the deal maker and problem solver. From our explainer last month, by Nathan Tempey:

[Cuomo's] involvement is so direct that planners at the MTA refer to him by the nickname "The Engineer on the Second Floor," a reference to the governor's second-floor office at the Capitol. When what was forecast as a record blizzard approached New York City in January 2015, Cuomo announced that the entire subway system was being shut down, a first for a snowstorm, and a move in direct contradiction of the MTA's snowstorm policies and then-MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast's statements hours earlier.

Mayor de Blasio recently pledged to "put forward a vision" to get the subway into a state of good repair, while acknowledging Cuomo's influence over the Board. His office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, Cuomo has yet to identify sources for the full $8.3 billion of the state's commitment to the 2015-2019 Capital Plan—money that won't be spent until all other sources are exhausted. The MTA recently voted to increase its overall debt by $5 billion over the next several years, in large part to fund new infrastructure projects over the repairs Cuomo now says are paramount. Board members cautioned last month that said debt will increase upward pressure on fares—if not this year, then years down the road.

"Riders don't have the luxury of quibbling over MTA Board governance when we know it's not the real issue," the Riders Alliance said this week. "We need a plan from the Governor and a reliable source of funding that can fix our disastrous commutes."

The MTA Board is meeting this morning; it started at 10:00 a.m. You can watch the live stream here.