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NYC officials call on Cuomo to make subway's aging signals a top priority

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A group of elected officials have created a website to document how signal failures impact New Yorkers

Via William Perugini/Shutterstock

Following the efforts of transit advocacy group Riders Alliance to compel the MTA to create a comprehensive plan to fix the subway, a group of elected officials have created their own campaign. This one is specifically targeted toward fixing the system’s aging signals, and is aptly titled SignalFail.com.

The coalition of elected officials behind the plan includes City Council Member Brad Lander, State Senators Liz Krueger and Kevin Parker, Senator-Elect Brian Kavanagh, and Assembly Members Robert Carroll, Richard Gottfried, and Jo Anne Simon. They’re calling on the MTA to make the signal system their top long-term priority, considering the agency itself has identified signal failure as the top cause of subway delays.

“This is Governor Cuomo’s signal failure,” said Lander, in a statement. “Instead of committing the funds for signal modernization, the MTA has actually eliminated half-a-billion dollars under his tenure.”

Through this website, the group of elected officials are hoping to document how signal failures disrupt New Yorkers’ commutes. The group collected data from the MTA that showed that were 137 signal failures across the city between October 9 and November 19 this year. The group argues that while the MTA’s new dashboard provides data on trains affected by signal failures, “the dashboard fails to provide reliable, up-to-date accounting of the volume and frequency of signal failures that delay trains across NYC every day.”

The website also highlights ways in which the MTA can generate funds to modernize the signal system faster than it currently intends to. The group argues that at the current pace, it would take 50 years to modernize the subway’s 22 lines. The group is suggesting that this can be done in half the time with these funding sources. They include congestion pricing, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Millionaire’s Tax, reinstating the commuter tax, and closing the “carried interest loophole.” The group argues that these revenue sources could help the MTA generate up to $800 million each year to fix the signal system.

Much like the Riders Alliance, this group has also created a petition to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to implement these changes. Curbed has reached out to the MTA for a comment, and will update this story when we hear back.