David Chung" />

Six months into an emergency plan for renovating and repairing New York City’s subway system proposed by Governor Andrew M.Cuomo, the President of NYC Transit, Andy Byford, says they are working towards a “reasonable, defensible level of service reliability.”

Six months into an emergency plan for renovating and repairing New York City’s subway system proposed by Governor Andrew M.Cuomo, the President of NYC Transit, Andy Byford, says they are working towards a “reasonable, defensible level of service reliability.”

On July 29th, 2017, Governor Cuomo declared the New York subway system was in a state of emergency. Governor Cuomo introduced an 836 million dollar plan, repairing the system that was causing historically high delays. According to a survey done by City Controller Scott Stringer, the delays have caused  “74 percent of riders to be late for work,” and the report called for “all hands on deck approach as the ‘Summer of Hell’ threatens to become a ‘Fall of Frustration’ for commuters,” in July of 2017.

Since the unveiling of the MTA’s 836 million dollar subway system repair initiative, the February 7th 2018, edition of Metro News says, “new performance numbers show modest improvements in some areas, like major disruptions, but little progress on other issues that matter to riders, like how long they wait for a train.” It is also cited in the same survey that trains are traveling farther, from 105,000 miles to 120,000 miles before experiencing breakdown. Although, with over 7,000 reported track deficiencies, many authorities state the New York subway system has a long road ahead of it. “We need to get back to a reasonable, defensible level of service reliability, where customers can rely on the subway service, can expect not to be delayed,” says Byford,

Several students at Laguardia Community College have strong opinions about the current state of the subway system.

Accounting major Kevin Zhou says, “It feels like I get delays like almost every other day sometimes or the train takes a long time to arrive. It’s really annoying when I see a lot of trains on the opposing tracks but none on mine for like 20 minutes.” Jenny Paulson, a biology major explains how she hates that “some stations are really nice and some are really crappy. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for them to properly distribute funds to manage the stations”.

The last major restructuring effort in the subways was in 1985, with an 18 billion dollar budget. While there is a massive difference in budgetary constraints between the efforts, there is also a considerable amount of political controversies and other issues delaying the progress of strengthening the subway system.

In a story in the New York Times on December 28, 2017, the Times detailed a 2010 MTA document leaked by an MTA accountant, which shows that 200 positions in a 900-position subway system construction project were being fabricated as well as other costs being artificially inflated, with some of those holding positions being paid up to 1,000 dollars a day. The story goes on to detail on how the New York subway system uses almost four times the resources as much as other parts of the developed world does for similar systems.

Joseph J. Lhota, the current MTA chairman, argues in a press release,“There are unique challenges that contribute to high construction costs in New York City in general, and for M.T.A. projects in particular, including aging utilities, expensive land, high density, strict regulations and large ridership requiring big stations”.

Also uncovered by the Times are allegations of favoritism Governor Cuomo has shown towards certain unions; “for years, The Times found, public officials have stood by as a small group of politically connected labor unions, construction companies and consulting firms have amassed large profits. Trade unions, which have closely aligned themselves with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and other politicians, have secured deals requiring underground construction work to be staffed by as many as four times more laborers than elsewhere in the world, documents show.”

While many of these controversial topics are up for debate there is still much infighting in New York leadership, particularly between Mayor Bill De Blasio and Governor Cuomo, who are both contesting how future subway funds should be used. Governor Cuomo has a list of thirty-three subway stations in which he wishes to see aesthetic improvements as well as upgraded amenities, such as schedule timers, better lighting and usb ports. Mayor De Blasio, on the other hand, argues that those funds need to be allocated to improve infrastructure and repair the ever deteriorating subway system.

As reported by the New York Post, the MTA board voted to put a hold on any plans to move forward Governor Cuomo’s proposal to renovate the thirty-three subway stops on January 21st, 2018. New York City’s representatives on the MTA board, refused to vote for it. “The city didn’t have any input into that list,” said city Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, who is one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s representatives on the MTA board. “They weren’t even clear on the methodology.”