DBP + Riders Alliance organize rally following terrifying Borough Hall station ceiling collapse
One year after Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency underground, leaders and advocates expressed exasperation at inaction and highlighted the critical need to fully fund the MTA's Fast Forward plan to ensure a safe and efficient subway
June 28, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Brooklyn, NY—Today, Brooklyn elected officials, civic leaders, and transit advocates outraged by last week’s subway ceiling collapse gathered outside Borough Hall station to call on state government to raise the billions of dollars necessary to fund the MTA’s Fast Forward plan and fix the subway. Their calls, which come one year after Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a system wide state of emergency, demand action.
The incident at Borough Hall is emblematic of the broader problems facing subway infrastructure and modernization. The station, the oldest in Brooklyn, with the third highest ridership in the Borough, has been in a state of disrepair for many years. And although the MTA 2015-2019 Capital Plan allocated $43 million to essential upgrades at Borough Hall Station, work has yet to even be scheduled.
Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Regina Myer said, “Our city is facing an unprecedented infrastructure crisis and if last week’s subway ceiling collapse is any indication, we cannot afford to delay critical repairs any longer. NYC’s ability to compete on the world stage is at stake, and it is past time for our state officials to come together and fully fund the modernization plan that will bring our transportation network into the 21st century for the millions of people who rely on it every day.”
“Last week’s ceiling collapse in Brooklyn was terrifying but entirely predictable, given the years of disinvestment that have led to frequent failure throughout our transit system,” said John Raskin, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance. “Governor Cuomo and the legislature badly need to fix the subway. Riders are looking squarely at our leaders for the investments we need to get to work and back home safely and reliably. Station upgrades, modern train signals, and new subway cars are all central to the MTA’s Fast Forward plan. It’s now up to the governor and legislators to approve and fund that plan.”
Borough President Eric Adams said, “Borough Hall is more than my office — it’s my subway station. I use this station every day. My staff uses this station every day. My constituents, my neighbors, my community use this station every day. This ceiling collapse, which happened at my doorstep, is something I take personally. Our safety is on the line. There are needs systemwide, but riders at every station deserve a clear plan of action. Without a sustainable and predictable funding stream, this crisis is bound to become a catastrophe. Lives are at stake. We cannot accept another summer of hell to go by without Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature funding an MTA plan that fixes and modernizes the subway.”
“As we saw last week, our transit system is quite literally falling apart. These repeated failures from daily delays to collapsing ceilings — send commutes into disarray, create unsafe conditions on platforms, and derail millions of New Yorkers’ daily lives,” State Senator Brian Kavanagh said. “New Yorkers deserve a transit system that gets us to work, school, or anywhere we need to go reliably and safely. And that means we need to fully fund a plan to fix and modernize the MTA. I look forward to working with my colleagues in government, the advocates who fight every day for a better transit system, and New Yorkers from across the five boroughs to fund public transit we can truly be proud of.”
“It’s been one long year since the Governor declared a state of emergency for our subways. That emergency remains a fact of life for New Yorkers whose lives and commutes are delayed by repeated signal failures and crumbling infrastructure,” said Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon. “Last week’s ceiling collapse at Borough Hall - one of the busiest stations - is a grim reminder that without the necessary funding for Fast Forward, we will be getting no place fast. We need money for #FastForward and we need it now.”
Assembly Member Robert Carroll said, “It didn’t have to take a dangerous ceiling collapse in one of Brooklyn’s busiest subway stations for us to realize that our mass transit system is in desperate need of repair. With some of the oldest actively running train cars in the world, and a signaling system that uses 19th Century technology, we have seen subway delays more than triple over the past five years. This impacts the lives of millions of New Yorkers while costing the city billions of dollars. The MTA’s Fast Forward plan provides a blueprint for the fixes we need, but the Governor, Mayor and State Legislature must agree on a funding plan that provides a dedicated revenue stream to the MTA of at least $1.5 billion annually to pay for them. Fixing and funding the subway must be our top priority and I will continue to fight for the legislature to adopt a plan like the Fix NYC Advisory panel proposal that was released earlier this year.”
“Everywhere you look you see signs of a system deteriorating, figuratively and, in the case of the recent ceiling collapse, literally as well,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “New Yorkers deserve better. Our riders don’t need or care to spend time reading the political tea leaves they just want to reliably get to where they need to go. What we are asking for is simple adequately fund a system that’s been neglected for far too long. Let’s get together and get it done.”
“What is it going to take to fix the subways? We have a plan, we have the political will, and we have the support of virtually every New Yorker. The only thing missing is the money, which is bizarre given that Governor Cuomo has found the money for capital projects with half the support. Now a piece of ceiling has collapsed and it is a miracle no one was more seriously hurt.
But we cannot wait for disaster to strike. We must be proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to transportation infrastructure. New Yorkers must see that we can repair infrastructure as basic as the subway without having to rely on a catastrophe. It’s Cuomo’s MTA — he must raise the funds now and fix it,” said City Council Member Carlos Menchaca.
“As our transit system crumbles before our eyes, the need for greater investment is growing more urgent every day,” said Kate Slevin, Senior Vice President of State Programs at Regional Plan Association. “Fast Forward is the plan to get us out of this mess. It may come at a price, both financially and in terms of customer inconvenience, but we have no choice to invest in the transportation network that allows our city to run.”
Brooklyn’s economy is completely dependent upon the subway”, said Alexandria Sica, Executive Director DUMBO Improvement District. “Our companies are choosing to invest here and the government has got to do its basic duty - keeping the trains moving and the stations safe. Heading into work, the only ceiling a New Yorkers should be concerned with is the glass ceiling she intends to break- not the MTA ceiling literally breaking down onto her. It’s time to fix the system”.
“The MTA has released an ambitious plan to fix and modernize our city’s subways, but we’re still waiting for a funding commitment from the State government, said Nick Sifuentes, Executive Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Commuters are being forced to deal with an unreliable system that is literally falling apart before our eyes. Now, more than ever before, we need Albany to get to work and fund the MTA’s Fast Forward plan.
“The ceiling collapse at the Borough Hall subway station should make abundantly clear to lawmakers in Albany that the New York City subway system is literally falling apart, and without an immediate commitment to sustainable transit funding like congestion pricing, the system will only continue to deteriorate,” said Jaqi Cohen, Campaign Coordinator for the Straphangers Campaign. “What riders need on the platform, even more than USB charging stations and free WiFi, is a guarantee that their commute will be safe and reliable.”
The MTA’s $19-billion Fast Forward Plan to modernize the New York City transit system is designed to fast-track vital, needed repairs and reduce implementation time from 40 years to ten. The plan includes upgraded CBTC signal systems on 5 subway lines, more than 50 accessible stations, state of good repair work at more than 150 stations.
NY Daily News - Politicians see a long road to getting enough money to fix city’s mass transit
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News12 - City officials want state to fund MTA’s Fast Forward Plan
Bklyner - Brooklyn pols call on Albany to fund MTA repairs after ceiling collapse