The New York City subway system was in crisis in the 1970s, when trains were covered in graffiti and crime was commonplace. Despite the many improvements since those dark days, the subways are facing another crisis, with overcrowded trains, unpleasant stations, and all-too-frequent delays and system failures. Investments in new trains, technology, and maintenance have not kept pace with growing ridership, thus contributing to a deteriorating system that is a deep source of frustration for New Yorkers and threatens the economic vitality of the region.
Creating a modern subway system will require accelerating the adoption of new technology, dramatically improving station appearance and amenities, and extending lines to underserved areas. To complete this massive undertaking, we must make a firm commitment to embrace innovation and restructure how the subway operates and finances improvements. This investment will justify the large upfront expense, as New York will have a reliable and efficient subway system that is accessible to all residents and worthy of its status as serving a major global city.