Everybody's Interested In Cuomo's L Train Plan, But Many Questions Remain

January 08, 2019 - 5:55 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – The MTA says it’s not going to be so quick to give the go-ahead to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to avert a shutdown of the L train.

Cuomo’s L train fix needs the approval of the MTA before April, and the MTA has a lot to figure out in a small amount of time.

NYC Transit President Andy Byford says it’s important that his authority gets it right, and he says a full vetting of Cuomo’s shutdown diversion plan is needed.

“As the person who owns the risk, as the person who will be held accountable by my bosses to make sure this thing passes off smoothly – I’m going to spend the next few weeks making sure that we thought through the details,” Byford told CBS2. “There are unanswered questions. We accept that.”

Among the chief concerns: will traffic above ground still be affected? A plan has been floated for buses along 14th Street, but it’s unclear if that plan will be fully implemented, along with its new traffic patterns.

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Regardless, MTA President Patrick Foye told CBS2 that Cuomo’s quick-fix plan could have a far-reaching impact.

“If this proposal works, every contractor in the country and indeed in the world is going to focus on this and be interested in it as a new way to do tunneling,” Foye said.

Some of those contractors might be right here in New York at Amtrak.

Amtrak’s chairman Anthony Coscia told the Daily News that the national passenger railroad is considering the governor’s plan as a way to make repairs to its tunnels beneath the East and Hudson rivers that were damaged by Sandy.

Amtrak engineers reportedly believe Cuomo’s plan is a “common-sense solution.”

However, as New Yorkers begin celebrating the fact that the L train may continue to run, local officials are scrambling to explain why they supported a shutdown in the first place.

“There’s no way the governor, Andy Byford and to be honest any elected official that backed this plan have any accountability anymore,” said City Councilman Antonio Reynoso.

He says he used up a lot of political capital getting people on board with the shutdown of the L train.

“Now, I have to explain to my constituents that there was a better plan and that maybe I wasn’t being vigilant enough,” Reynoso said.

He wants his constituents to hold off on celebrating as Cuomo's plan still needs to be approved by the MTA board and the federal government may need to get involved since the plan calls for federal funding.