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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cuomo misled Bronxites, then vanished

By Adam Wisnieski and Marisol Díaz
Posted
MARISOL DÍAZ/THE RIVERDALE PRESS
Some Bronx residents lined up for more than eight hours waiting for a fuel truck that never came.

Hundreds of Bronxites waited hours outside the Kingsbridge Armory on Saturday to receive gas promised to them by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but it never arrived.

On Saturday morning, Mr. Cuomo announced via a press release and on his Facebook page that temporary fuel trucks would be deployed to locations in the city and Long Island. 

According to the release, Mr. Cuomo was deploying 5,000-gallon trucks, provided by the U.S. Department of Defense at the direction of President Barack Obama and in coordination with the New York National Guard. 

The gas would be used to fill emergency vehicles’ tanks first, and then 10 gallons per person would be given away to the general public.

“Cars can fill up directly off the truck,” Mr. Cuomo’s release said.

The announcement was spread by the Bronx Borough President’s Office and media including The Riverdale Press, and before long, hundreds of motorists and residents on foot carrying red jerrycans lined up at the Armory to wait for gasoline. 

The line of cars stretched from the Armory down Jerome Avenue, past Lehman College on Bedford Park Boulevard West and onto Goulden Avenue by the Jerome Park Reservoir. And then at 5 p.m., police officers told those waiting to go home. 

There was no formal announcement that gas was not going to arrive and no information was provided to residents about why they waited in vain or when they could get gas. 

According to a spokesman for Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who met with FEMA on Monday afternoon, the fuel was never intended to go to regular people, only to emergency vehicles. 

That was also true in other boroughs, but it is unclear whether Bronx emergency vehicles ever got gas they needed. 

The governor’s office did not respond to multiple calls for comment about what happened. The press release announcing the fuel giveaway also mysteriously disappeared from the governor’s website.

Those online speculated that the gas may have been rerouted. 

“We are not getting what we need. I think its not fair to us, we need gas like everybody else. The Rockaways, I understand need their gas, but we need gas here to function. We have life, we have children, generators are down,” said Dazia Griffith, who waited six hours in line.

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