Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking the wheel at the MTA — by testing out cars that don’t use them.
The governor on Friday toured the Jerusalem offices of Intel subsidiary company Mobileye, which produces the video technology used to guide self-driving cars — suggesting that the same technology could be valuable on New York’s subways.
“If this software works well on the road then we owe it to commuters to test its application for train and rail,” Cuomo said in a statement at the end of his three-day “solidarity trip” to Israel.
“The MTA spends millions of dollars on navigational tools, and we want to look beyond the handful of companies who essentially have a monopoly on the rail system,” he added.
Cuomo has attempted to take the reins in recent months over the MTA’s efforts to modernize the signal technology that guides trains through the city’s many underground and above-ground rail lines.
Expediting the signal modernization effort is one of city subways and buses chief Andy Byford’s top priorities. But Cuomo has criticized the MTA for continuing to use technology called Communications Based Train Control, which took years to install on the 7 and L lines.
The governor believes ultra-wideband technology would speed up signal modernization for less money, but the technology is unproven.
Transit advocates blasted Cuomo, arguing that he should leave the policy-setting to the MTA’s own experts — namely Byford.
“Governor Cuomo was on a roll when he got congestion pricing through Albany and hired an accomplished transit executive to run the subways and buses,” said TransitCenter Communications Director Ben Fried. “The best thing he could do for transit riders right now is let the professionals he hired do their jobs, instead of inserting himself into procurement and technology decisions.”