September 29, 2019
Albany, NY

Video, B-Roll, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces First Phase of L Project Tunnel Rehabilitation is Complete Ahead of Schedule and On Budget

TOP Video, B-Roll, Audio, Photos & Rush...

Entire L Tunnel Project Expected to be Completed in April 2020 - 12 Months Since Rehabilitation Began and 3 Months Ahead of 15- to 18-Month Projections


Rehabilitation of First Tube Completed After Only 5 Months; Next Phase of Construction on Remaining Tube to Start Immediately; All Current Alternate Service Options and L Service Levels Remain Unchanged


See Photos of Tunnel Progress and Descriptions of Rehabilitation Methods Here


Governor Cuomo: "We brought in some new minds - we brought international, technological innovation to bare. And that is what you see here today. This is a better tunnel than it was. It is a better tunnel than the original design Innovation works, new technology works, finding faster, better ways works. And it's a lesson for the whole MTA. Because this shouldn't be the exception, this should be the rule."


Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the first phase of the L Project tunnel rehabilitation is complete ahead of schedule and on budget. With work on the first tube concluding after only five months, the entire Canarsie Tunnel Rehabilitation is now scheduled to be completed on budget in April 2020 - bringing construction to a close a full three months ahead of the 15- to 18-month projections. Governor Cuomo and senior MTA leadership toured the completed Manhattan-bound tube on Sunday, reviewing the new construction methods used to avoid a complete shutdown and maintain regular train service for 90 percent of L customers.           


VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.


B-ROLL of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.


AUDIO of the event is available here.


PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.


A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:


First, let me begin on tragic note. We lost a police officer last night in The Bronx, 33 years old - Police Officer Brian Mulkeen. Our thoughts, prayers, we hope his family finds peace with this. He was doing his job which is a dangerous job. He was in the anti-gang, anti-street crime unit and he made the greatest sacrifice. He put his life on the line and he lost it in service to the people of this city.


I've said this a number of times but this is one of those moments that brings it home: every person in this city has to remember the sacrifice that the NYPD makes, and they deserve respect from every person in this city.


It's not an expression "they put their lives on the line." They do put their lives on the line, and when we lose an officer it brings it all home.


And the families of the NYPD, every time an NYPD officer leaves the house, their wife, their husband, their child, their significant other has to wonder, are they coming home tonight? And it's not just an individual sacrifice they're making. They're making a sacrifice on behalf of their own family and our reciprocity is respect, and let's remember that today.


For this tunnel, I want to congratulate Janno Leiber and his whole team. Mark Roche and Sean Kildare. You have to remember this was impossible to do when we first started talking about it. You couldn't do it. The MTA as a bureaucracy often does, they were going to do what they did, and a bureaucracy repeats its culture. It's the culture of the bureaucracy. Well, we want change, we want innovation, we want improvement. No, we are a bureaucracy we want to keep things as they are. So, we brought in some new minds. We brought international, technological innovation to bare. And that is what you see here today. This is a better tunnel than it was. It is a better tunnel than the original design of the tunnel. I think if we built it just as it was, you're replacing a hundred year old engineering today, why would you do that? Why would you ever replace what they did a hundred years ago today? Just think how absurd a concept that is. I'm going to build a new car, it is going to be called the Model T. No. So, this is a better tunnel than ever before. The fiberglass reinforced polymer, you didn't have to bring down all the bench wall, release all the silica. It was better. It was faster. It will last 100 years. The cable racking system. Of course, instead of burying it in the bench wall. This is a bench wall. This cement wall to my right or to my left. The original design put the cables in the middle of the cement bench wall. Why? Because they needed to protect it in case of fire and the only way they could protect the cable was by putting it in cement. But now you coatings and coverings of the cables that are fire resistant and you don't have to bury it in cement, which means you have access to it you want to change it, you want to upgrade it. It is right here.


The fiber optic monitoring system. How smart? Run a fiber optic through the whole tunnel - God forbid there's a tremor that maybe could impact the structural integrity of the tunnel, you'll know. It can detect water; it can detect temperature changes; it's just a safer tunnel than ever before, so it is a better design. Okay, second, was the speed of making the changes. The original plan, and the reason I got involved in the first place, was 15 to 18 months, total shutdown of the L train. 15-18 months, that was the estimate. Call me a cynic, but if the MTA estimated 15 or 18 months, maybe two years. You close down the L train tunnel, roughly 300,000 people would be inconvenienced. You know what 300,000 people is? It's larger than the entire population of the city of Buffalo. It's larger than the population of the city of Newark. You can't just say to 300,000 people, "Oh, find another to commute." So the challenge was rebuild a better tunnel and do it faster. The original ambitious goal was - the MTA said 15 to 18 months total shutdown - we would rehab it in 15 to 18 months with only weekends and nights as an outage, which was a major shift from total shutdown to just weekends and nights, and you'd have continued service. 


We have now exceeded that ambitious goal, and thanks to the good work of Janno and Mark Roche and Sean Kildare, the new ambitious goal is to have everything done and finished and the L train fully operational, not in 15 to 18 months, but in 12 months, and we are already ahead of schedule by the current plan. If they keep working seven days a week and depriving their family of their presence and comfort, we'll get it done by April, thatwill be 12 months in totality without any shutdown from an original design of 15 to 18 months total shutdown. 


The L train itself is a phenomenal piece of work and innovation and I truly applaud the people who are doing what was impossible. I don't know if you remember, but a lot of people when we said we were going to do this, the whole bureaucracy pushed back and said, "you can't do it, you can't do it it's impossible. We always do it the way we always do it." 


Yeah, news flash: Innovation works, new technology works, finding faster, better ways works. And it's a lesson for the whole MTA. Because this shouldn't be the exception, this should be the rule. How do we do it better? How do we do it faster? What are they doing across the world? And it is just an extraordinary piece of work. Again, for the L train riders themselves, but also as an example for the whole MTA. 


Bring that innovation back and that's what we're doing across the state. This project was impossible. I have news for you the KoscuiuszkoBridge was impossible. The Mario Cuomo Bridge was impossible. LaGuardia Airport - building a new airport while you're operating the old airport that's impossible - everybody knows that. The third track on the Long Island Railroad, that's impossible. No, nothing's impossible in New York. That's why New York is New York. 


But congratulations to this whole team. 

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office