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Governor Andrew Cuomo Faces Similar Transit Issue as his...

Governor Andrew Cuomo Faces Similar Transit Issue as his Father
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Some lawmakers have called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to intervene in current contract dispute.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday he is taking a "see how it goes" approach to the contract dispute between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). 

LIRR transit unions have said workers plan to strike beginning on Sunday, and about 300,000 daily commuters could be affected if employees walk off the job. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo isn't the first in the family to deal with a LIRR transit strike. His father, former Governor Mario Cuomo, found himself in a similar situation in 1994.

Mario Cuomo got publicly involved with the contract dispute between the MTA and LIRR in an election year, and he helped to bridge the gap between transportation unions and the transit agency after a two day strike. He wound up losing his re-election bid that year to George Pataki, receiving few votes in Nassau and Suffolk counties. 

Twenty years after his father, Governor Andrew Cuomo finds himself in similar position in an election year, although polls have given him a large lead over his challengers. While some lawmakers have called on Governor Cuomo to help solve the contract dispute, he hasn't publicly said whether he will intervene.

Transit historian and former MTA Executive Peter Derrick said Andrew Cuomo is trying to learn from his father, and he expects the younger Cuomo to try and settle the dispute behind closed doors. 

"It's important to [Governor Andrew Cuomo] that he get a lot of votes in Nassau and Suffolk, so he definitely doesn't want a strike," said Derrick. "I think there's going to be a lot of pressure [from Cuomo] behind the scenes to settle this thing by Saturday, or at the latest, Sunday morning."

Solving the contract dispute could be a tricky situation for Governor Andrew Cuomo, as his father was seen as favoring the unions over the MTA. 

"You have to be very careful with getting involved directly in negotiating Long Island Rail Road contracts because there could be a strike, and then you could get blamed for the strike if you're seen as being directly involved," said Derrick. 

There are no talks scheduled between the MTA and LIRR unions. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Tuesday that a strike could cause up to $50 million in lost economic activity each day.