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Queens Lawmaker Upset City Not Doing More To Clean-Up Graffiti

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Queens lawmaker is calling on the city to do more to remove graffiti.

State Sen. Tony Avella told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez that after requesting graffiti removal in his district, he discovered the clean-up on city property had taken a back seat to other priorities.

"The fact that now the city under Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Transportation has chosen not to respond to graffiti requests unless it's a profane nature or racist nature, it's highly unacceptable," Avella said.

Avella said Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told him the city wasn't responding to all graffiti complaints because the agency was concentrating all its resources on the mayor's Vision Zero program.

However, Trottenberg told Sanchez that's not true.

"I don't understand that. They're unrelated," Trottenberg said. "We have not had funds to clean the graffiti up for every light post in New York City all the time."

Trottenberg sent a letter to Avella responding to his concerns saying: "It is difficult for DOT to expend many precious resources for the removal of graffiti at the expense of needed maintenance and transportation improvements.

The commissioner said the city's economic development corporation, or EDC, is ensuring vandalism is addressed.

"The mayor's most recent budget, he has put a lot of funding into EDC and we're going to be working closely with them to target areas where we're seeing a lot of graffiti," Trottenberg said.

Crews are contracted to clean graffiti on city property every five years.

The city announced an expanded graffiti clean-up initiative in February that will include removing graffiti from public and private structures.

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