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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Monday, September 25, 2017

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order Thursday declaring a state of emergency for New York’s subways after a train derailment last Monday left dozens injured. The state of emergency is also a response to other subway-related problems, including unreliable trains and rush hour malfunctions, the NY Times noted in a report Thursday. 

In an announcement at the Genius Transit College Conference, Cuomo acknowledged that many New Yorkers are fed up with the flawed subway system. The Conference is an international competition which awards a $1 million prize to contestants who develop the best solutions for improving the New York City transit system.

“The delays are maddening New Yorkers,” the Governor said in his announcement. “They are infuriated by a lack of communication, unreliability and now accidents.” Referencing Monday’s derailment, Cuomo noted that “just three days ago, we literally had a train come off the tracks. It’s the perfect metaphor for the dysfunction of the entire system.”   

The state of emergency is not merely a symbolic gesture. Approximately $1 billion dollars will be pledged towards improvements for New York City’s subway, including much-needed equipment for the Manhattan Transit Authority. 

Cuomo has directed MTA chairman Joseph J. Lhota to develop a reorganization plan within the next 30 days, adding that Lhota should “design the best organization to get the job done.” In a statement Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio spokesman Ben Sarle said the mayor was pleased by Cuomo’s choice of Lhota to tackle the issue, given his efforts to restore the subway system following Hurricane Sandy.

According to the Times report, Cuomo’s decision arrives after urging by transit members to address the repeated pattern of subway delays and service disruptions throughout NYC. 

“One of the processes we’re going to expedite is the MTA procurement process,” Cuomo said Thursday, according to CBS New York. “I’ll ask the comptroller and the attorney general for a special team to expedite the process. But it will no longer be a tortured exercise to do business with the MTA.” 

Some subway commuters have delivered a blunt message to the Governor regarding the dire consequences should he fail to resolve the transit system’s problems. 

“If you do not fix the subway, next year’s election will be a referendum on your governorship,” Michael Sciaraffo, a subway patron, declared in a protest Wednesday. 

Based on his reaction Thursday, Governor Cuomo appears to have taken heed of that warning.

By: Yehuda Sagan