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Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman Joseph Lhota yesterday announced he will conduct a top-to-bottom audit to overhaul MTA New York City Transit's (NYCT) subway system. The agency will work with transit experts and management consultants to perform the audit, which will examine NYCT's challenges and limitations to identify strategies for short- and long-term changes. Within 60 days, Lhota will present a plan to modernize the subway system. The plan will include changing and training personnel, implementing and executing "processes that work," improving customer communication, and engaging and implementing new technology, MTA officials said in a press release.Lhota made the announcement at the agency's Genius Transit Challenge Conference held yesterday. The conference examined ways to fix and improve New York City's subways. New York State is offering three $1 million "genius" awards for the best ideas across three categories: improving NYCT's subway system, deploying modernized rail cars and increasing communications infrastructure in the system. "It is our responsibility to transport people as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible, and the current state of the subway system is unacceptable. In tandem with the Genius competition proposals, we will deploy a multifaceted plan to restore confidence to the MTA and prove that we can deliver for our customers," Lhota said.The MTA Genius Transit Challenge judging panel includes former Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg, MTA Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim, and Cornell Tech Dean and Vice Provost Daniel Huttenlocher.Yesterday at the conference, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the MTA.Within recent weeks, the subway system has been dogged by recurring delays and operational issues, including a derailment that injured dozens of riders earlier this week.
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