Cuomo reportedly asked Elon Musk's Tesla to help fix NYC's subway system

Jeannie Matthews
January 7, 2019

Andrew Cuomo sought to reassure skeptics about his surprise, last-minute plan to fix a key subway tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn without a long-planned and long-dreaded 15-month shutdown.

It will keep from the tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan from having to fully shut down and with 250,000 commuters that rely on the L train, Cuomo wants to be sure that "as Governor of the State of NY that I can look New Yorkers in the eye and say we have gone through the project, we have gone through the project with the best minds on the globe and this is the best way to do it and the fastest way to do it".

It was less than a month ago that Cuomo toured the mile and a half-long Canarsie Tunnels, which are more than 100 years old, with engineers from Columbia and Cornell universities.

Gov. Cuomo unveiled a new plan on Thursday that would allow work to be done only on nights and weekends.

Brooklynites had already begun rearranging their lives for the expected "L-pocalypse", with some changing jobs or apartments to avoid the looming commuting snarls.

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The 15-month closure was set to begin in April in order to fix damage caused by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The cables would then have been replaced and the wall rebuilt, in a labor-intensive process. "This line is full, it's one of the most on-time lines of all the subways and I believe this is the right solution, not to shut it down".

"Everyone's really relieved", she said, describing how the many Brooklyn residents who work at her company had exulted on their internal online messaging chatrooms.

"So long as this new strategy proves to be real, the mayor thinks this is great news for L-train riders", a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "It was going to be very trial-and-error".

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority had originally planned to shutter L train service between Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn and First Avenue in Manhattan for 15 months beginning on April 27. The line is one of the city's busiest, running through neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn and carrying almost a quarter of a million people through the tunnel each day. Since 1990, ridership has vastly increased, with about 400,000 rides on an average day.

City and state transportation officials have spent three years hosting public meetings-first to decide what approach they should take to repairing the tunnel, and later to develop a mitigation plan that would allow riders to take buses and ferries in lieu of the train. That called for L train service at five stops in Manhattan to be halted, as well as trains through the tunnel.

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