June 29, 2017 / 2:46 PM / 5 months ago

New York governor Cuomo to give extra $1 bln to transit improvements

NEW YORK, June 29 (Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled an extra $1 billion for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s capital program on Thursday and said he will declare a state of emergency regarding the “wholly unacceptable” decline of New York’s transit systems.

Under its current capital program, the MTA is spending $32.5 billion between 2015 and 2019 to upgrade aging transit infrastructure, improve its communications with commuters and replace some of its subway cars.

Nearly half of that spending is going towards improvements in the New York City subway system, with the remainder split between various commuter railroads, bus networks, bridges and tunnels that the MTA operates.

“We’re seeing what happens when a transit system breaks down,” Cuomo said in a speech, referring to increasingly common delays he said were infuriating New Yorkers, as well as the subway train derailment this week that injured 34 people. “The current state of decline is wholly unacceptable and we’re gonna do something about it now.”

Only 63 percent of subway trains are arriving on time so far in 2017, compared to 85 percent just six years ago, according to MTA data.

The $1 billion comes in addition to $8.3 billion in state funding to the MTA’s 2015-2019 capital program he announced last year. Other funding comes from New York City, the federal government and through the sale of bonds.

Cuomo, speaking at an MTA event bringing transit experts together to discuss new ideas for improving the system, also said he would sign an executive order declaring “a state of emergency when it comes to the MTA,” but details of what that order might achieve were not immediately available. (Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Nick Zieminski)

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