NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Top officials of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have launched their own study of Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s quicker fix plan to avoid the nightmare total shutdown of the L train.
They say the plan will be fully vetted before a decision is made to go full speed ahead.
The MTA says it will not be Cuomo’s rubber stamp, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported. That’s the message from the three people handpicked by the governor to run the trains.
They insist the governor’s 11th hour rescue plan to avoid the so called “L-pocalypse” while repairing the storm-damaged subway tunnel from Brooklyn to Manhattan will be fully vetted.
“As the person who owns the risk, as the person who will be held accountable to make sure this thing passes off smoothly, I’m going to spend the next few weeks making sure we’ve thought through all of the details. There are unanswered questions, we accept that,” New York City Transit Authority CEO Andy Byford told Kramer.
There are many questions about the novel plan, the novel technology that the governor says will avoid the total shutdown of the tunnel. The work will be done at night and on weekends, affecting some 250,000 commuters.
But will the new plan avoid the closing of 14th Street to car traffic to accommodate the planned armada of buses that were going to provide and alternate means of transportation?
“Too soon to tell. It is too soon to tell. That will become apparent as we undertake this exercise,” MTA Managing Director Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim said.
Extra trains will be added on the M and G lines at night and on weekends while the work is going on.
“We will be checking to see if we need a ghost service, will we need supplementary bus service,” Byford said.
“You are all transit experts. Do you believe that this idea can work?” Kramer asked.
“I do,” Byford said. “I am very confident that we will get this plan signed off. Will get it executed and offer excellent alternative service while we do it.”
“What we have today is a new approach, an innovative approach, but is an innovative approach of proven technology,” Hakim said. “Proof is in the delivery.”
“If this proposal works… every contractor in the country, indeed in the world, is going to focus on this as the new way to do tunneling,” said MTA President Pat Foye. “Just as its an incredible opportunity for our customers and business in Brooklyn and Manhattan and a vital business interest for contractors not only here in the United States but around the world.”
Amtrak officials tell Kramer that agency is now looking at the new technology to see if it can be employed to repair its four East River tunnels damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
Work to fix the tunnels used by Amtrak, NJ TRANSIT and the LIRR is supposed to start next year.