Posted on July 11, 2018
The state of the NYC subway, one year after Cuomo’s state of emergency
— Straphangers Campaign (@Straphangers) July 9, 2018
At the end of June last year, an A train derailed in Harlem, injuring 34 people and shining a bright light on the decay eating away at the New York City subway system. Days after the derailment, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the subway system and vowed to remake the MTA from the ground up. But almost exactly one year after Cuomo’s declaration, a ceiling collapsed at the heavily-trafficked Borough Hall subway station in Brooklyn, injuring one person and throwing the day’s train service into chaos. “The persistence of these major incidents suggests there’s still a huge amount of work ahead of us,” says Jon Orcutt of TransitCenter.
The state of emergency served as an important rhetorical milestone; Jaqi Cohen of the Straphangers Campaign says that it “marked the moment where the governor and the MTA acknowledged that subway service was getting worse and something needed to change.”
But rather than focusing on the past year, transit advocates are looking towards the future, specifically the Fast Forward plan recently introduced by NYCT president Andy Byford. But in order for that ambitious plan to actually be effective, it must be embraced quickly. “This is a 15-year plan,” Danny Pearlstein of the Riders Alliance notes. “The sooner we fund it sustainably the sooner it can get done. It’s a tremendous undertaking but we have to do it.”
“The right message from the governor would be ‘We’re going to make congestion pricing happen. We’ll need the city to contribute, but regardless the state will do what it needs to do to fix the subways,’” says Nick Sifuentes, the executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.