City Council to investigate bogus subway signal reports

Investigators have recently looked into whether workers performed the amount of signal inspections that they reported they had. Photo by Christina Santucci
By Philip Newman

City Council Transportation Committee Chairman James Vacca said he would hold a public hearing into findings by the MTA inspector general that transit workers falsified subway signal inspection reports.

Meanwhile, transit officials said “it is important to note that the signal system is safe.”

“Inspector General Barry Kluger’s report indicates that public safety was endangered and straphangers have a right to know the full extent of any malfeasance or falsification of records,” Vacca said.

“Even one skipped inspection could mean loss of life,” Vacca said. “The transit-riding public is alarmed and they have a right to be.”

Bret Nolan Collazzi, a spokesman for Vacca, said no firm date had been chosen for the hearing.

“We are looking at early December,” Collazzi said.

Investigators were looking into what they said were accusations that transit workers had carried out inspections of far fewer signals than they reported had been checked.

“Because of the seriousness of the issue, rather than waiting for the investigation to be completed, we’ve been providing NYC Transit with some of the results in an ongoing basis,” Kluger said in a statement.

“They’ve moved quickly to try and get their arms around this and have been making a number of changes,” Kluger’s statement said.

One such change was the transfer of Tracy Bowdwin, manager of signal maintenance, transit sources said.

“It is important to note that the result of that effort has reinforced that the signal system is safe,” the New York City Transit Authority said in a statement.

Kluger’s investigation involved more than 10,000 signals throughout the subway system, the purpose of which is to maintain a safe distance between trains.

Kluger said investigators had been questioning both workers and supervisors throughout the subway system.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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