Cuomo to MTA: New panel should examine transit system

The panel will develop ways to protect the system from future disasters like Sandy.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday directed the MTA to create a panel that would examine the transit system to develop ways for the MTA to gird the system against future storms and accommodate a growing and changing ridership.

In a letter to MTA chief Thomas Prendergast, Cuomo said he wants this Transportation Reinvention Commission to include international experts and look at how the system needs to change.

“We have been operating the same subway system for the last 100 years. The next 100 years, however, look radically different for New York,” Cuomo wrote.

The directive to create the panel comes as the MTA works on its next five-year capital program, which pays for projects like the Second Avenue Subway and improvements to transit infrastructure.

The MTA would pick members on the panel, which would hold public hearings and submit to Cuomo a preliminary report ahead of the MTA board’s planned vote on the capital program this September.

“Governor Cuomo has made clear the next MTA capital plan must be a blueprint for making sure our subways, buses and trains meet the challenges of a new century,” Prendergast said in a statement.

Veronica Vanterpool, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, said needs for the next capital program are already clear, suggesting that the plan fund Select Bus Service and new bus rapid transit routes that feature physically separated lanes and continue the previous plan’s focus on keeping the system in a state of good repair. But she said input from the international community would be helpful to the MTA.

“Cities like London, Paris, and Singapore — these are cities that have constantly risen to the task” in managing transit, traffic and street space, she said.

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