NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Just days after a subway derailment in Harlem, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that he will be signing an executive order declaring a state of emergency for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Cuomo’s declaration also came the same day commuters dealt with delays at both Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal all day.

The Long Island Rail Road said 12 tracks were affected by Amtrak power problems Thursday. Service was on or close to schedule by the late night.

“Thank God I don’t have to do this every day, because I feel for those people that do,” said Nick DeFilippis of Smithtown.

Delays and cancellations bookended his day, both heading out and heading into Penn Station.

“I had a meeting this morning which I ended up missing,” DeFilippis said.

The governor has also had enough. He made his announcement Thursday at the Genius Transit Challenge Conference, an international competition with a $1 million prize to come up with solutions to improve the transit system’s reliability. He swooped into Manhattan from Albany on a helicopter for the occasion.

Cuomo said the state of emergency will allow the agency to expedite funding and repairs to what he described as a rapidly decaying and dysfunctional system.

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

While he said issues with the transit system have been going on for years, Cuomo said its “current state of decline is wholly unacceptable.”

“The delays are maddening New Yorkers,” he said. “We need ideas outside the box because, frankly, the box is broken.”

In addition, the governor said New York state will commit another $1 billion to the MTA Capital Plan “so the MTA has the resources they need to get it done.”

That is on top of the $8.3 billion that Cuomo has already poured into the MTA’s $30 billion capital plan.

Kramer asked MTA Chairman Joe Lhota what the $1 billion would mean to the MTA.

“The $1 billion, I think, is an indication of the commitment on the part of the governor to make a difference,” Lhota said. “To me, I heard it just a few minutes before you heard it, and my immediate thought was it’s a new day in New York.”

Lhota announced that he will be conducting a top-to-bottom audit to overhaul the MTA.

Meanwhile, the governor also gave the MTA 30 days to prepare an agency reorganization plan, 60 days to review its plans for buying new equipment and fixing the system, and 90 days to work with Con Edison to eliminate power outages.

“New Yorkers deserve a safe, reliable and viable subway system,” Lhota said. “That is our goal. That is our charge. That is what we must do.”

Cuomo further said he will also be tasking the Public Service Commission with investigating MTA power outages.

“If there is a power outage and if Con Ed is responsible, they are going to be fined heavily for the delays that they have been causing New Yorkers,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo also said the subway system is the most problematic component of the MTA and said the agency needs an updated fleet of subway cars, an upgraded signal system, a better communications system to inform riders and a fix for the power grid that repeatedly fails.

It seemed as if the derailment on the A Train near 125th Street that left dozens injured Tuesday, and the criticism Cuomo received for not going to the scene, spurred him into action.

The governor referenced many of the recent issues, the A train derailment among them. Officials said it appeared to have been caused by an improperly stored piece of rail and two track maintenance supervisors have now suspended without pay.

There have also been multiple breakdowns, delays and countless inconveniences for those who rely on the trains. Earlier this month, riders were left sweltering underground in a stuck F train.

In all, there have been three derailments and nine separate subway mishaps since the start of the year.

“We know the system is decaying rapidly,” Cuomo said. “I think of it as a heart attack.”

Cuomo has spent his six and a half years so far in office building bridges and redoing airports. But the A Train derailment apparently was a game changer.

“It’s the perfect metaphor for the dysfunction of the entire system,” he said.

Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio were both roundly criticized for being missing in action at the derailment. On Thursday – as Mayor de Blasio rode the No. 2 Train instead of traveling by sport-utility vehicle as he typically does – Cuomo called on the city to spend more money on mass transit just as the state is.

“Put your money where your mouth is,” Cuomo said.

But de Blasio said the subway system is in the jurisdiction of the state, not the city.

“This is the state’s responsibility,” de Blasio said. “We in the city have a host of things we are responsible for that we don’t have enough resources for.”

On Wednesday, a group of fed up commuters took their voices and their messages right to Cuomo’s doorstep.

“If you do not fix the subway, next year’s election will be a referendum on your governorship,” said subway rider Michael Sciaraffo.

On Thursday, straphangers expressed hope that the situation would improve.

“I think it’s a great thing,” said a man named Barry. “I just hope it happens soon.”

“We need a better system,” said a woman named Sharon. “We need better trains coming fast.”

“I hope they know what they’re doing,” another woman added.

John Raskin, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance, issued a statement saying Cuomo “is stepping up to take responsibility for fixing our crumbling subways.”

“The Governor has stopped ignoring the problem, which is a vital first step,” he said. “Now he needs to produce a credible plan to fix the subway, and to put together the billions of dollars we will need to make it happen.”

Even with derailment and all of the headaches riders have endured, some straphangers are optimistic.

“It’s a pity what happened but they’re doing their best,” said Harlem resident Steve Obanor.

Also Thursday, one woman who was injured during the derailment in Harlem earlier this week has announced her intention to file a $5 million lawsuit, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.

“I was being pushed. I was trampled. I passed out for a second,” said Sheena Tucker. “I was throwing up, the smoke inhalation.”

Her attorney said it is time for the talking to stop and for the MTA to make trains safe for its customers.

Comments (79)
  1. jbspryjbspry says:

    “Fix the transit system STAT!”
    (“But Governor, New York is broke…”)
    BROKE? We CAN’T be broke – we still have taxpayers!”

  2. Mary Warren says:

    New York collects billions in tax dollars, yet the state government is accountable for nothing. Welfare payments are out of control; there is no work requirement and households keep adding more children for more welfare payment. Illegals are encouraged to live there and to collect welfare and food stamps. Pretent refugees flock to new york because they know they are welcome there and no one will question them. Yet the stupid governor and the stupid NYC mayor cannot figure out why they don’t have money for infrastructure.
    Oh and hey, how many millions did new york get from the omba porkulus bill? What did they do with that? Oh yeah, they paid off the unions and pocketed the rest.

    1. Stop! Figure this out. The Democrats are purposefully destroying everything and everywhere they can. Illinois, California, Baltimore, the list is pretty long. This isn’t some case of the politicians being clueless. They know exactly what they are doing. So, wake up to that fact.

    2. Joe Jacobs says:

      this is how ancient rome was destroyed the book “The late great Romans”

  3. Russ Agrusa says:

    The government thinks they should take over and run everything. Then when they destroy it they are perplexed at how it could have happened. Then they offer $1M prizes to anyone who can find a way to improve the broken government system. Yeah this is definitely the group that should be running our healthcare system! Brilliant.

  4. Lulua Mahalo says:

    Like the Clintons and Bloombergs, hasn’t NY had enough Cuomos yet?

  5. Hey Cuomo – how about not letting the corrupt grifters in New York’s local and state government rob the funds to pay for the MTA blind?

    Now where’s my million dollars?

  6. Just one more reason the Normal-American Community would rather live in our cars than within 1,000 miles of that democRat New York dump.

    1. WHERE is a John Gault, Trump is the closest thing so far. THERE IS A JOHN GAULT OUT THERE SOMEWHERE !!

  7. Some of that there New York Values them there folks have up there north of the Mason Dixon.

  8. Dan Roth says:

    State of emergency isn’t going to fix anything. They need money which they give away. Take up a collection from the poor to fix the subways. I am sure they will throw money at you after all you have done for them.

  9. Fred Turk says:

    This is a metaphor for Progressivism and the Democratic Party. They’re always in a sad state of dis-repair and in need of an infusion of cash. Can you imagine a private business being run this way?

  10. This is the perfect time for Cuomo to make his case and for me to win the $1 million prize. Once Cuomo explains how spending $2 billion for 9.8 miles of new LIRR track will fix the other 700 miles of LIRR failing track, then my solution of having Cuomo just stay out of everything will be the winning solution. I could be in trouble if Cuomo explains that the 9.8 miles of new LIRR track are needed to take kids to their new “tuition free” colleges. Who knows, one of those “tuition free” commuters could end all diseases in the world and it was all made possible by Cuomo’s 9.8 miles of new LIRR track.

  11. Tomas Cruz says:

    The left gives so much free (redistribution of our wealth) stuff to stay in power there is nothing left to fix anything. Venezuela here we come.

  12. John McElroy says:

    Remember, as Obama said, elections have consequences and DeBlasio won.

  13. Al Zabel says:

    Perhaps, if they didn’t have to spend thousands of $ on clean up, after protest marches?
    But, then again. Maybe the Liberals “FEEL” that everything, is fine.
    So that makes it a fact.

  14. asudad90 says:

    Democrats. More tax for the upstate Republicans to cover the bill for the de Blasio failure.

  15. Dell Thomas says:

    Leftist cities crashing and burning everywhere…

  16. Tom Ronson says:

    Maybe it is time to just shut down the subway for good? Make all of the fat liberals and retarded socialists walk to where they are going. They might lose some weight and better yet, some may drop dead of a heart attack.
    The fewer liberals and retards in NYC the better.

  17. Uh-oh! There’s going to be more confusion now. The kicker backers will have to change the recipient’s names and addresses for the kickbacks to get to the right person of influence to guarantee access to state and city bucks.

  18. Gino Barbaro says:

    I don’t understand why they’ve waited so long. Anything the government touches will eventually break down and cost double what it’s supposed to. Just wait for single payer insurance.
    Solution: Move out of NY so you don’t have to ride the MTA. If they don’t change the culture of the MTA, nothing will change, and good luck trying to change the culture of government unionized workers.

  19. Rob Bennett says:

    Not one mention of DeBlabbio in this story and it’s his friggin city. These two idiots need to be impeached and investigated for the corruption we all know exists.

  20. John Smith says:

    Typical example of the type of decline seen in most socialist nations. The nuts and bolts reality of infrastructure just doesn’t impinge on the mind of a socialist. Unlike the socialist/progressive world of emotion and philosophy, the hardware of infrastructure cannot be bargained with, delayed, appeased or propagandized …. it MUST be done, or things stop working. The left has never understood this, and never will. The working people, the machines and the structures that make their lives possible are absolutely invisible to the left while they sit in their classrooms, high rise apartments, and cushy offices.

  21. Maybe these angry citizens should start to blame themselves for voting these people into office.

  22. So raise taxes.

    There, fixed. 🙂

  23. Paul King says:

    Isn’t that a democrat led state……………………….like Illinois?

    1. Yes it is, and wherever Leftist, Dems, Communist, Natl. Socialist(Nazis), or whatever alias this bunch tries to deceive people by calling themselves, the economies, infrastructure and social fabric always collapse. But, mental illness,narcissism, or just plain megalomania, won’t let the perpetrators make the connection.

  24. Susan Vue says:

    New York can afford to provide illegals with $4+Billion/year in freebies “Welfare” but cannot afford to maintain infrastructure for legal working Americans.

    1. marcpope says:

      instead of restricting the size of soda cups, maybe they should get off their asses and actually work on stuff. liberals can’t run anything.

  25. Vox Veritas says:

    Liberals (DeBlasio and Cuomo) run the city and state.

    Just another Democrat dystopia.

  26. New York is a cesspool of humans living like sardines. Just keep packing more people in and tax the infrastructure to it’s limits and tax the people to almost pay for it. You have to be insane to want to live there.

  27. Ethel Weiss says:

    When you voted for a nipple head for mayor you got what you earned. Dump that bum and his ilk and that idiot governor.

  28. Give the whole MTA to Elon Musk!

  29. NYC under this Sandinista regime resembles the description of the city at the beginning of “Atlas Shrugged”.

  30. The libbies may have to look at how private business operates and make the appropriate changes, yea right like that’s going to happen.Making NY a sanctuary city is more important to the demo.s who are in charge.Trump could fix it in a New York second.

  31. Public employees. They cant be fired. They’re lazy. What did you expect? An efficient well run system? That would defy basic logic. Privatize. Thats how you get accountability in employee performance and cost controls.

  32. Notice all these sanctuary cities have not completed an environmental review on whether the infrastructure exists to serve the millions of illegal aliens they want us to accept. The same people who go to court to stop infrastructure projects for environmental reasons want the current undersized undermaintained infrastructure to serve millions of new residents. Take California the other Dem run state, Californias citizens have to deal with high water prices and rationing as the legislature and gov. moonbeam increase the population by several large cities. Fools on the left have not logic to their thinking.

  33. Brent Taylor says:

    A state built on sand. Underneath the skyline, NYC is a mass of rats and roaches. And the people of New York will have no one to blame but themselves when Babylon falls…

    It’s already happening and most of the Proggies don’t even know it. Their nostrils have grown dull to the rot and the stench.

  34. Sam Dennis says:

    LOL …. left NY 27 years ago when the same consequences of the continual under-funding of public transportation led to Subway and LIRR train problems on an annual basis. It’s interesting to see that nothing has changed. Mayor after Mayor, Governor after Governor … none of them really gives a crap because THEY don’t use public transportation.

  35. The government model of serving its customers is the problem. The leaders in both parties expand the number of employees, pay them more and more and give them retirements not found in the private sector until the politicians have to cut the service they are supposed to provide to finance the boated, overpaid workforce. The problem is no a competition and career government workers who can only get raises and promotions if they are inefficient. In the end, we have more and more highly paid workers providing less and less service with bad attitudes.

  36. Dave Neff says:

    Instead of funding the invasion of America, maybe Cuomo should read his job description, rather than Marx and Alinsky.

  37. Another democrat run disaster. When will people learn???

  38. Mark Smith says:

    Greaseball Cuomo meets with the legislature to rename the Tappan Zee River Bridge to the Mario Cuomo Bridge, while the trains and subways are falling into pieces. Idiot!

  39. Boo Hoo – vote for Demos / professional politicians – reap the “benefits.”

  40. David Alster says:

    Day after day NYC falls into a total chaos of crime and infrastructure failure.

  41. Here’s a novel idea how about supporting the President for once, with his infrastructure plan?! That includes transportation, doncha know.

  42. tngilmer says:

    Commissar De blasio is incompetent.

  43. Jim Morrison says:

    Raise fares and taxes and spend less on Illegal Aliens and creating Sanctuary Cities

    1. Gal Murphy says:

      Not much of a statuary for the other people that live there and have to put up with the BS day in and day out

  44. Cuomo’s a total ass. He just gave the thumbs up for WIFI on the MTA when it needs a total ovehaul. Typical democrat….using a band aid when an amputation is needed.

  45. Stu Pedasso says:

    Another socialist paradise circling the drain? As Lady Thatcher put it so well, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

  46. Make it a private entity! I win….where’s my $1M?

    1. Privatize the subway. In fact break it up into separate components, as in the past when the IRT, IND, etc competed!

      1. Sam Dennis says:

        Not sure that would solve anything if the fares are regulated. Users usually use the line that is most convenient for them.

  47. The Commie Mayor of New York City is the real terrorist.

  48. Sue Winn says:

    These aging systems have been in need for decades. Political folks knew. I cannot find political
    folks doing any good. No analysis, no common sense, just flap their lips.

    1. You’re the ones who elect these democRat excretions, so this is what you get for it. Payback.

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