New York

Cuomo: I Reached Out to Tesla to Help Fix the Subway System's Signal Problems

What to Know

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday he's reached out to Tesla to help modernize New York City's subway system
  • Cuomo said he asked Tesla for ideas on improving the signaling system so trains could run more efficiently
  • The governor said Tesla had some feasible ideas for ways to improve the system

If Elon Musk can figure out how to get from New York to Washington in under an hour, maybe he can figure out how to get from Queens to Manhattan in under an hour.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday he's reached out to Musk's company Tesla to see if it has any ideas about modernizing the subway's signal system, one of the MTA's major headaches as it tries to improve service. 

"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.

The Tesla aside came up during a conference call about Cuomo's new plan to avoid a shutdown of the L line for necessary repairs. The governor was asked if Tesla had consulted on the L, and he said no - but it could be helpful elsewhere. 

“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," he told reporters.

Tesla was asked to weigh in, he said, on the concept of Communications-based Train Control, or CBTC, which would be more efficient than a mechanical signal system and let trains run more frequently. 

He acknowledged that the company is not a subway contractor per se - but added "I believe there is enough possibility it is worth testing."

Tesla spokespeople weren't immediately available to comment on the governor's remarks. 

In July 2017, Musk thrilled New Yorkers when he said his tunnel-building company -- The Boring Company -- had preliminary approvals to build a New York-to-DC Hyperloop system that could make the trip in 29 minutes. Passengers traveling via Hyperloop would board magnetically levitating pods moved by electric propulsion.

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