Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo said his declaration of an emergency for the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) would speed up the purchase of material needed for repairs by relaxing requirements that must be followed before work begins.
"We know that decades of underinvestment, deferred maintenance and deferred modernization have caused the problem," Cuomo said at a public transport conference featuring experts from Europe and Asia.
"We know this has now compounded from a surging ridership" which has risen from four million per day in the 1990s to around six million today, the New York governor said.
"The delays are maddening New Yorkers. They're infuriated by a lack of communication, unreliability, and now accidents."
Thirty-six people were left with minor injuries Tuesday when two subway train cars careened off the tracks, leaving hundreds of people stuck for more than an hour.
The cause of the derailment was not immediately clear.
The former politician was recently reappointed to the post by Cuomo following a successful stint in 2012 when he was praised for his handling of the authority during Hurricane Sandy.
Lhota will also be tasked with reviewing the investment plan in two months' time.
The priorities, according to Cuomo, are: accelerating the replacement of trains, of which 10 percent are more than 40 years old; a new signaling system to replace one which dates back to 1937; and overhauling the power network which is the cause of numerous delays.
The New York subway's first line was finished in 1904. Three new stations were unveiled in January, the biggest expansion of the network in half a century.
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