Cuomo Defends Last-Minute Decision To Cancel L Train Shutdown

January 04, 2019 - 12:52 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday defended his decision to shift gears at the eleventh hour and cancel a planned 15-month shutdown of the L train.

“I had no previous engagement with the plan,” Cuomo told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

The governor said that the MTA has a lot going on, in defense of the agency’s previous decision to suspend L train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan to fix wires damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

“The must have 10, 15 major capital projects going on. But, yes, I was aware of the L train tunnel,” Cuomo said.

After touring the Canarsie Tunnel with a group of engineers in December, the governor announced Thursday a new plan to fix the damaged infrastructure and keep the trains running at the same time.

Instead of knocking out the walls of the infrastructure to replace damaged wires, the new plan would run wiring, protected by special jackets, along the inside of tunnel.

The MTA board still needs to vote to approve the plan, but Cuomo said he is calling on the agency to hold an emergency meeting to support his option or the 15-month shutdown.

Meanwhile, local businesses owners, who made a number of costly decisions in preparation for the shutdown, are still in shock.

“It's good. It's good news,” said Paul Simolsky, of the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

Though, he can't help but think about all the people that made life-changing decisions over the last two years.

“Just putting out a blanket 'hey, I'm sorry' doesn't necessarily make it all good for all these people that had already made other plans on selling their business, not renegotiating their leases, moving, whatever,” Simolsky said.

He said he’s not ready to let go of all of his concerns just yet, especially since the new plan still calls for night and weekend work.

“We've seen the L train over the past few weeks when they were doing the weekend closures, those have been devastating,” he notes.

But, one side effect of all the work that went into preparing for the shutdown was a stronger bond among business there, Simolsky said.

“We are a community,” he said. “We care about each other and we got prepared to do it here so let's keep that vibe going.”