During a press conference Thursday, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and announced that he would sign an executive order to expedite the process of fixing the system. The governor’s announcement comes just two days after a subway train derailed at 125th Street, injuring over 30 people. His plan includes committing an additional $1 billion in the MTA’s capital plan and reviewing the system’s decades-old equipment.
Speaking at the MTA Genius Transit Challenge Conference, Cuomo described the subway system as “decaying rapidly.” Cuomo recently hired Joseph Lhota as the chairman of the authority which oversees the subway, a position that hasn’t been filled since his predecessor left in January. Lhota previously held the same role from 2011-2012. The governor said Lhota will provide a reorganization plan for the agency within a month to fix the “long-standing bureaucracy that has evolved over time” at the MTA. The governor also wants a review of the capital plan, the cars and the physical equipment, which he wants to be completed within 60 days.
Cuomo hopes to accelerate the MTA procurement process, saying: “We want to do business, we need to do business, and we will do it quickly.” According to the governor, New York State will commit an additional $1 billion to the capital plan so the MTA has necessary resources. He said that subway cars are made to be on the tracks for 40 years, but that more than 700 cars have been used for longer. Some of the oldest subway cars now have been in use for over 50 years.
As 6sqft recently covered, the main cause of the subway dilemma’s is overcrowding. As more and more people move to New York, the outdated subway system cannot handle the dramatic increase in ridership. Overcrowding now accounts for more than one-third of the nearly 75,000 subway delays across the system each month. To really address the subway’s problems, in addition to upgrading its decades-old infrastructure, the system needs to expand its capacity to stop train delays and disruptions.
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