New York City Governor Declares Subway System In “State Of Emergency”

Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged one billion dollars for improvements to the subway system.

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Re-occurring incidents and delays in the New York City subway system have driven Gov. Cuomo to sign an executive order declaring the century-old system in a state of emergency. Gov. Cuomo says he will commit an extra billion dollars to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Capital Plan– “So the MTA has the resources they need to get it done,” he stated.

Gov. Cuomo’s declaration comes just days after Harlem’s line derailment, where two cars derailed, crashing into the tunnel. A dense fog of dust and smoke filled the cars, leaving almost 800 people trapped in the subway, with 34 injured. The derailment extensively damaged tunnel infrastructure, along with the track and signals.

The State of Emergency was officially announced at the Genius Transit Challenge Conference earlier this week. The international competition invites design submissions to repair and modernize the city’s aging subway system. “The delays are maddening New Yorkers,” Gov. Cuomo explained. “We need ideas outside the box because, frankly, the box is broken.”

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Credit: WikiCommons

Gov. Cuomo ordered new MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota to present a detailed agency reorganization plan. Over the next 60 days, Mr. Lhota will review MTA’s plans in order to improve the system and buy necessary equipment. Governor also gave him 90 days to work alongside Con Edison — Consolidated Edison Company of New York — and restore power following continual outages throughout the city.

According to the MTA, the governor has made it clear that a new approach is critical. Lhota referred to Gov. Cuomo as he mentioned the subway’s aging signal system. Lhota said “We live in a digital age. Our signal system isn’t even analog, it’s mechanical.”

The New York City subway first opened in 1904. After more than a century the system now serves more than six million people. Yet, the infrastructure hasn’t been modernized and some cars have even been operating for more than 50 years with no changes or improvements whatsoever.

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