Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order last week declaring a state of emergency for the New York City subway system, pledged $1 billion for improvements and moved to make it easier for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to buy badly needed equipment.
Mr. Cuomo ordered Joseph J. Lhota, the new chairman of the MTA, to provide a reorganization plan within 30 days. Mr. Lhota should “design the best organization to get the job done,” the governor said, denouncing the performance of the authority, which he has controlled for more than six years. Within two months, Mr. Lhota is to present a detailed plan to address the subway’s most pressing issues.
Mr. Lhota said the authority would focus on customer communication, new technology and training of personnel. Transit officials also are examining new approaches to upgrade the subway’s antiquated signal system—a frequent reason for delays—and to buy new subway cars.
The governor’s order came days after a derailment in Manhattan that subway officials blamed on the failure to secure equipment during track repairs. The accident in Harlem occurred when a southbound A train struck a tunnel wall and began to fill with smoke.
The number of subway delays has skyrocketed, and several recent disruptions scrambled service across the city, frustrating many residents.
The executive order would allow the authority to accelerate efforts to improve service by temporarily suspending certain laws that might “hinder or delay action necessary to cope with the disaster.” The governor said the authority would need more resources to improve the system and called on state lawmakers to identify new funding sources.
Source: The New York Times