New York City's subway system has finally degenerated into a such a pile of garbage that Governor Andrew Cuomo stepped in Thursday to declare it's now in a "state of emergency," announcing he'd allocate $1 billion in state funds to the failing system, CBS New York reports.
He unveiled his plan at the Genius Transit Challenge Conference, a competition that awards $1 million to whoever can come up with the best plan to fix the city's crippled, aging transit infrastructure.
"The delays are maddening New Yorkers," he said. "We need ideas outside the box because, frankly, the box is broken."
Everybody's got a public transportation horror story, but taking the subway in New York recently has seemed about as safe as a game of Russian roulette. On Tuesday, a train in Harlem completely derailed, injuring at least 34 people and trapping roughly 800 in a smoky subway tunnel for more than an hour, the New York Times reports. And in early June, straphangers on an F train were stalled underground without AC for about 45 minutes.
All the weird, dangerous, and irritating shit that's happened on the Metropolitan Transit Authority's (MTA) watch recently has forced New Yorkers to call on city officials and Governor Cuomo to do something about it. Thursday's announcement seems like it's a step in the right direction. Under a state of emergency, the MTA will be able to procure contractors, replace trains, and repair lines without going through as much red tape, making all of those processes—at least in theory—significantly quicker. Plus, Cuomo's directed MTA chairman Joe Lhota to conduct a sweeping audit of the subway system and hand in a report within 30 days on how the city can stop pissing off every resident too broke to Uber everywhere.
"I know what the subway system was," Lhota said Thursday, "and it can be the crown jewel of New York."
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