Golden says Lhota’s subway fix plan the right move
It has been a Summer of Hell for subway riders, but state Sen. Marty Golden said a plan by MTA Chairman Joe Lhota to fix the city’s ailing transit system is a step in the right direction.
Golden, a member of MTA’s Capital Project Review Board, endorsed the multistep NYC Subway Action Plan that was recently by Lhota.
The initial part of Lhota’s $836 million plan calls for track and signal repairs.
“I want to commend MTA Chairman Lhota for his leadership and his plan to make immediate improvements to our subway system. New Yorkers are fed up and frustrated with the crumbling infrastructure, antiquated equipment and undependable train system. I agree with all New Yorkers that corrective and decisive action must happen now,” Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) said in a statement.
Lhota announced his plan on July 25, less than a month after Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency and directed the chairman to develop a plan to improve subway service.
To address signal and track issues, MTA New York City Transit will expedite a signal repair program targeting 1,300 signals and begin a program of track repairs. The agency will also repair water leaks, clean underground subway stations to remove debris and reduce fire hazards and dispatch special teams to locations with the highest incidents of track issues.
Lhota also announced plans to expand the number of subway cars to be overhauled from 950 to 1,100 cars a year. Maintenance crews will pay particular attention to subway car doors, which Lhota said cause 40 percent of all car breakdowns.
MTA will also send repair teams at certain locations within the subway system so that repairs could be made more quickly.
The most controversial part of the NYC Subway Action Plan involves the removal of seats from some cars on the L train to allow more passengers to fit onto the train.
Subway riders have had to face train delays, derailments and detours several times this summer stops due to long-planed renovation projects.
“New Yorkers are rightfully frustrated with the current state of the subways, and their demands for better service have been heard,” Lhota said in a statement “The NYC Subway Action Plan marks the beginning of a new chapter for the MTA and provides an opportunity to stabilize and improve the system and lay the foundation for modernization. As we work to build a better system, customers can expect to see progress in ways both big and small.”
But Lhota’s plan has already run into political infighting between Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who are arguing over whether the city should be providing more funding for the repairs.
Golden said he hopes the mayor and governor can work out their differences.
“I hope that the governor and the mayor work together to fully fund the much-needed improvements. This comprehensive New York City Subway Action Plan has many well thought out measures, and I am confident that Chairman Lhota has the skills to immediately implement this comprehensive plan,” Golden said.
John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy organization, called the subway fix-up plan a much-needed step.
“This is valuable progress. And it’s thanks to you: Everyday transit riders demanding accountability from our elected leaders,” Raskin wrote in a letter to subway riders.
Raskin called on the riding public to keep putting pressure on Cuomo and other elected officials.
The NYC Subway Action Plan is “an important step, but the fight for a lasting solution goes on,” Raskin said. “Gov. Cuomo needs to match these short-term fixes with a long-term plan to rescue the transit system, and to fund public transit with a fair and sustainable source of revenue.”
Raskin also urged riders to sign a Riders Alliance petition for better subway service. The petition can be found at ridersny.org/petition-subways.
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