The New York City subway system is 114 years old, and to say its age is showing would be an understatement. It’s plagued by an increasing morass of train derailments, track fires, arbitrary delays, signal failures, and broken air conditioners. Last year, for the first time in decades, ridership declined. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is in charge of the system–and has arguably contributed to rather than alleviated many of its problems–declared the subway to be in “a state of emergency” last year.
This morning, Andy Byford, who became president of the New York City Transit Authority in January, unveiled a long-awaited plan to cure the subway of its woes. It’s 75 pages long (you can read it here) and comes with a $19 billion price tag.
It’s ambitious: Byford wants to see new elevators at 50 stations, additional signals added to the subway’s busiest lines, and over 650 new cars running along the tracks. To supplement subway service, he also wants to completely redo the city’s bus network, which the plan notes has not been revamped since the Cold War.
While any New York City commuter could tell you these changes are necessary, Byford has his work cut out for him to convince Cuomo, who ultimately controls the subway, that they are. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio seemingly wants nothing to do with helping revive his city’s transit system, so it will be up to Byford and transit advocates, who are praising the plan, to push the state to come up with the money for it.