NYCTRC Testimony – July 22, 2019 – Investing in Signals

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Full testimony here: 07.22.19 Investing in signals NYCT

Good morning, my name is Lisa Daglian, and I am the Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC, speaking on behalf of the NYC Transit Riders Council.

Riders have been pushed to the max this summer. We’re certain that you have too.

The July 13th blackout showed that some system redundancies worked, as the underground stations and third rail remained by and large operable. The problem was the signals. We, and all subway riders, need to know that the system will work in times of emergency. Where was the signal redundancy and back up power?

The meltdown on Friday was attributable to ATS — and while it’s a different calamity, it also begs the question: where was the system redundancy? Sending staff to towers to direct traffic should not be the only back up plan.

We have faith and confidence in the very impressive transit team, but these incidents demonstrate the critical need for significant investment in a modern signal system, including significant increases in CBTC installation.

Work has already begun on signal modernization under the Subway Action Plan and initial phases of Fast Forward.

But more is needed — a focused and accelerated effort that will need focused and dedicated funding for the entire system, including signal maintenance, upgrades and modernization. This funding must be included in the next capital plan – but we can’t wait.

We urge that as you look at the root causes of these incidents you develop a targeted plan and immediately identify funding to modernize the signals, as envisioned in Fast Forward, in the 100+ year old subway system that millions of people rely on every day.

You know, as we do, that riders can’t go through another day like Friday. Thank you.

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