September 9, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Issues Letter to MTA Board Outlining Priorities for the Upcoming Capital Plan

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued a letter to the MTA board outlining priorities for the upcoming Capital Plan.

 

The full text of the letter is available below:

 

To: MTA Board of Directors,

 

The MTA has made quantifiable and undeniable progress over the past three years. 

 

The path forward for the MTA has two tracks. Short-term progress will be achieved by institutionalizing the means and methods of the Subway Action Plan through expeditiously implementing the MTA's Reorganization Plan and completing the commenced special initiatives. Longer-term improvements will be achieved when the Capital Plan is approved. The Capital Plan offers unprecedented opportunities as we have new dedicated revenues including those from the Congestion Pricing Plan legislation.

 

The short-term agenda requires an energized management capacity to complete the ambitious MTA Reorganization Plan's new hirings, realignment, consolidation and special initiatives. The Train Speed and Safety Task Force, the Help for the Homeless Initiative, Fare Evasion and Worker Safety Task Force and the station and train intensive cleaning initiative, are top short-term management priorities to advance the New York City Transit Authority and Andy Byford's progress. They must be fully completed on time. 

 

Major capital construction projects under MTA Capital Construction and Janno Lieber must be supported and rigorously executed. The L Train Tunnel redesign shows the potential for new approaches.

 

The new business integrity laws including "bad contractor" debarment, time and attendance systems and forensic audits must be in place. 

 

As the Capital Plan requires approval by the legislative leaders and the Mayor of the City of New York, these legislative mandates must be completed for the benefit of the taxpayer and riders and so the MTA's noncompliance does not become an issue in the approval of the Capital Plan.

 

The Capital Plan provides an historic opportunity in that new funding has been secured to support $25 billion in Capital Plan projects including from the State's passage of Congestion Pricing in the Central Business District. The State Legislature and the Mayor of New York City have made their priorities clear in the bills they have passed and in public statements.

 

I want to advise you of my priorities for the Capital Plan before it is prepared and presented.

 

I believe it is essential that the Capital Plan achieve the following goals:

  1. The progress on making stations accessible for people with disabilities has not been acceptable. It is a legal and moral mandate that the MTA accelerate the number of stations made accessible and the timeframe in which accessibility is achieved.
  2. "Quality of Life" issues in the subway have deteriorated. The number of homeless, dangerously mentally ill, fare evaders, aggressive "pan handlers" and worker attacks has skyrocketed. Station redesign securing access to the tracks and worker safety is essential. Riders must be provided a safe environment and additional MTA police with proper equipment, training and facilities is essential.
  3. State of the art signal systems must be installed to speed up the trains and long-delayed construction projects such as East Side Access, Grand Central improvements, the Moynihan Farley Station, Long Island Rail Road improvements and Second Avenue Subway must be prioritized.
  4. The New York City outer boroughs and Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad must receive an equitable distribution of resources.
  5. New buses should be hybrid or electric and distributed throughout the City, and you must work with New York City to find ways to improve speed and service. New train cars must be procured without the multi-year delays in past contracts.

 

There is no doubt that the rigor and activism of the Subway Action Plan has achieved quantifiable progress. Performance is demonstrably improved. The management discipline and capacity must now be institutionalized through the Reorganization Plan and accompanying Task Forces and Special Initiatives.

 

An intelligent Capital Plan that can be approved by the Legislature and New York City Mayor in an expeditious fashion will secure and advance progress.

 

Sincerely,

 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

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