Thomas F. Prendergast
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
347 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
May 7, 2014
Dear Chairman Prendergast:
New York faces a pressing need to prepare the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for tomorrow's challenges. To adapt its system for a changing world, a changing state and a changing climate, the MTA has a unique opportunity to proactively redesign how it serves its customers.
The MTA is scheduled to submit a Capital Plan this fall to identify investment priorities for New York's mass transit network. While past Capital Plans have focused on maintaining and expanding the existing MTA network, New York needs the MTA to develop a reinvention plan to make our subways and our entire transit system ready for the challenges of the next century.
I am recommending the MTA empanel a Transportation Reinvention Commission to examine its network and develop a plan for the future. The Commission should include international transportation experts and be selected by the MTA. It should hold public hearings as it develops findings and submit a preliminary report to me in advance of the MTA Board's scheduled Capital Plan approval in September.
We have been operating the same subway system for the last 100 years. The next 100 years, however, look radically different for New York. The clear evidence of a changing climate in our nation makes more major storms like Superstorm Sandy a real and present threat. Increasing population, demographic shifts and record ridership pose new challenges to operating and maintaining our existing mass transit network, meeting and exceeding New Yorkers' expectations, and spurring the continued growth of New York's economy. Already, there are more than 8.5 million riders -- more than the entire population of New York City -- using MTA trains and busses every day.
This Commission needs to fundamentally reexamine our subway system to meet these needs and expectations.
In the last three years the MTA has taken many steps to improve its service and respond to safety concerns, and we have committed an extra $5 billion to overhaul the system after Superstorm Sandy. Maintaining the system in a state of good repair continues to be a top priority, which is why since I took office the State has provided unprecedented financial support to the Authority, investing more than $16.2 billion through the budget and dedicated funding.
The next step is a broader examination of the MTA's challenges and goals for the next century that will give New Yorkers a mass transit network that is prepared for the threat of extreme weather and provides a new and better experience for riders. Despite the scope of the challenges we face, I believe this is a real opportunity to build a new New York State MTA that will be an example for the nation and the world.
Governor Andrew Cuomo