Cuomo Announces ‘Genius’ Contest To Fix The NYC Subway

(GOTHAMIST) Emma Whitford, May 24, 2017 — Less than a week after Governor Andrew Cuomo attempted to distance himself from the steadily-deteriorating Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the man who essentially controls the MTA took a decidedly different approach on Tuesday. Addressing a crowd at the City University of New York Graduate Center, Cuomo challenged the MTA to look internationally for “groundbreaking and innovative solutions” for the subway’s crowding and delays. If the best solution requires funding beyond the State’s $8 billion commitment to the MTA’s five-year capital plan, Cuomo promised he’ll find a way to pay for it.

“If the MTA finds the technology and can deploy that technology, and if it requires additional capital money for the capital plan, I will fight for that additional money for the capital plan,” Cuomo told the crowd, including members of the City Council and State legislature.

Andrew Albert, chair of the New York City Transit Riders Council and a nonvoting member of the MTA Board, chuckled during a phone interview following the announcement. “He wasn’t ‘I don’t run the MTA’ today, was he?”

Cuomo’s MTA Genius Transit Challenge calls for signal system overhauls; new subway car designs or overhauls to the existing stock; and, because it’s Cuomo, WiFi and cell service throughout the system, tunnels included. The winner in each category will receive $1 million from the State.

“Copenhagen [has] driverless electric trains that feature open ended cars,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “In Hong Kong, every station has high speed Wi-Fi. The ideas are out there. The technology is out there. We need to get those ideas and that technology here.”

Watchdogs and advocates praised Cuomo’s willingness to take responsibility on Tuesday, tempered with concerns about funding. “Governor Cuomo is taking a vital step, which is to declare that it’s squarely his responsibility to fix the subway,” said John Raskin, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance. “The next question is: what is the actual plan, and where will the Governor find the money to pay for it?”

Source: Cuomo Announces ‘Genius’ Contest To Fix The NYC Subway: Gothamist