Economy

Will the MTA's Subway Rescue Plan Work?

Will the MTA's Subway Rescue Plan Work?

Cuomo and de Blasio are now in a game of political chicken over who is responsible for paying for the MTA's emergency plan, and it could end up costing subway riders in the long run.

On Wednesday, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said that the first phase of the program would start immediately, addressing 79 percent of what he describes as the major causes of delays. Cuomo believes there needs to be a change in attitude as the MTA launches an agressive subway action plan calling for massive improvements to the tune of $836 million.

Mr. Lhota, who returned to lead the authority in June to help fix the subway after an earlier stint as chairman, said he would continue to try to work with city officials to persuade them to fund the plan.

On Tuesday, Lhota urged the state and the city to share the cost.

Cuomo noted: "The oldest subway cars are 52 years old".

"After the stabilizing plan, a long-term plan will require an additional capital investment of approximately $8 billion", he said.

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The plans include expanding a program to fix 1,300 failing signals, cleaning up 40,000 street grates to divert water and clean up debris, and enlisting the New York State Public Service Commission to address power issues.

Note the $800 million plan calls for 50-50 funding from New York City and the state.

The union for MTA workers wants to hold Mayor Bill de Blasio accountable for the crumbling transit system with a new ad campaign aimed at putting the heat on Hizzoner. New Yorkers need help, and they need it now.

De Blasio criticized Lhota's call for more funding, saying the city has already committed $2.5 billion to the MTA's five-year capital plan, adding that the MTA has only spent a portion of that money. "Today, I am making the state's funds available to begin the transformation of the MTA", Cuomo said. "Without financial support from the state - and the city - riders will be forced to suffer through more delays, more breakdowns and more misery".

NY and New Jersey are depending on the federal government to make good on a promise to provide half the cost of the $20 billion Gateway Project, a system of two train tunnels under the Hudson River to protect the region from the risk from existing tunnels worn with age and damaged from flooding during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The rescue plan includes a pilot program to remove seats on at least two lines to cram more passengers into each auto, which has attracted scathing commentary.


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