New York Governor Cuomo Called Tesla for Help With NYC Subway System

The subway signal system has caused delays, service changes, and frustration. Gov. Cuomo is contacting "out-of-the-box" companies like Tesla for help.

James Keivom/NY Daily News via Getty Images

Governor Andrew Cuomo (NY-D) said at a press conference on Thursday that he contacted Tesla in hopes to garner some advice and ideas on how to best to improve the New York City subway’s signal system. 

The most unexpected part of the aforementioned conference, perhaps, was Cuomo’s announcement that the much-dreaded yet well-anticipated L train shutdown was no longer needed or scheduled to occur as initially planned. The subway line connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan would no longer be closed for 15 months straight, but instead, see only one track shut down with service on the other running during the day on weekdays. 

As the city’s subway system has seen a plentitude of service changes, congested cars, and track malfunctions in the past, Cuomo’s announcement that modern transportation companies such as Tesla were part of the conversation to fix these issues makes a fair bit of sense. Improving the MTA’s signal system would after all, according to the governor, take seven to 10 years to install.

“I called up Tesla, and I said, ‘Here’s the question: We’re trying to move subway cars, get them closer together. Do you have any ideas? You’re talking about flying cars; we’re just talking about moving trains,’” Cuomo explained.

"I don’t believe a time where they’re talking about flying cars and you can get into a car and drive 100 miles on the LIE and never touch the steering wheel, that there’s not a better technology that can regulate the trains!” Cuomo said, according to NBC. "I called Tesla because it’s outside the box…I said how can this be that we can't have technology that can monitor the proximity of subway cars all on the same track to move them faster together."

Tesla, of course, primarily produces electric vehicles and hasn’t quite delved into the world of flying cars just yet. Company founder Elon Musk's well-publicized venture into modernizing underground transportation systems, however, seems to have caught Cuomo’s eye. The governor has reportedly spoken with other “out-of-the-box” companies, as well, in a seemingly strong effort to drastically improve the city’s public transportation

As it stands, Tesla is currently focused on sales of its Model 3, refining the embedded Autopilot software, and undergoing construction of its third Gigafactory in China. If the automaker will actually shepherd the city of New York along with effective solutions for its subway system, merely push to construct a Hyperloop track in its place, or neither, is yet unknown. For Cuomo, who is likely to consider a 2020 Presidential run, there's certainly no lack of motivation to resolve this issue in any way possible. Stay tuned.

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