Friday, crack Daily News transit reporter Clayton Guse got the scoop that the MTA is rolling out next-generation signaling technology underground on the L line. If it works, “ultra-wideband” equipment could mean faster and more frequent service, and the chance to upgrade signals on all 27 of New York’s subway lines at a fraction of the cost of current plans.
It’s fitting that the trial is on the L. Mindless transitcrats were set to shutter a whole line in Manhattan and under the East River for 15 months for repairs before Gov. Cuomo bravely stepped in and ripped up the plans, as academic experts had demonstrated how to fix it without canceling service.
How right he was, as he showed off the stunning results down in the hole. By racking cables on the side of the tubes rather than using the 1900 method of encasing them in a concrete benchwall, Cuomo overruled the bureaucracy and kept trains running, sparing 300,000 New Yorkers a nightmare of more than a year without the L. The money-saving work is now way ahead of schedule. Better, faster, cheaper.
Last week, the MTA okayed a hugely ambitious $51 billion, five-year capital plan, which relies on new sources of revenue including long-overdue congestion pricing on vehicles entering Manhattan’s central business district.
Lots more cash for fixing stations and trains and signals and buses doesn’t relieve the infamously wasteful MTA of the obligation to stretch every dollar as far as possible, using the best technology available.
To the contrary, all the dollars sloshing around underline the need for smart solutions to chronic problems.
Cut, cut, cut. Reorganize, reorganize, reorganize. Innovate, innovate, innovate. Go, go, go.