AP NEWS

Capitol Watch: Tesla’s subway advice; NY aids Virgin Islands

January 5, 2019

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — In New York government news, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is turning to Tesla for advice on how to upgrade New York City’s subways.

The Democrat says the outreach was intended to ensure the latest available technology is considered before billions of dollars of subway upgrades are completed.

Meanwhile, the state will offer help to the U.S. Virgin Islands as the territory seeks to rebuild its electrical grid following devastating hurricanes in 2017.

Here’s a look at stories making news:

TESLA TRAIN? Cuomo told reporters on Friday that his administration reached out to the electric car and solar power company for advice on subway train control technology.

Calling it a “sort of personal project,” Cuomo said he is interested in whether “ultra-wideband” sensors could be used in new subway cars. The sensors can detect obstacles or approaching subway cars and automatically reduce speeds or hit the break if a danger is detected. He wanted to get Tesla’s input because of the sensors installed in its electric cars.

Cuomo said the technology might be better than the more conventional sensors and controls planned for subway cars. But while it remains an appealing option, he said it’s not available right now for transit vehicles.

“It is outside the box,” he said. “Tesla doesn’t do subways. And there is no company that does subways that is proficient in that technology.”

AID TO VIRGIN ISLANDS: The state will provide technical assistance to the Caribbean territory under an agreement signed last week.

The Virgin Islands’ power authority had requested help with the creation of a new electrical system built to withstand future storms. Part of the work involves replacing traditional sources of power such as coal and natural gas with more locally reliable wind and solar power.

The state’s contribution will include consulting and advice on technical matters relating to the repairs and upgrades, according to state officials. Officials cite the state’s experience in managing a large electrical grid and in rebuilding the system after Superstorm Sandy.

New York has provided similar help to Puerto Rico, sending utility personnel to the island to help restore full power following the 2017 hurricane season.

UPCOMING:

Wednesday: Legislature convenes at the state Capitol to kick off 2019 session.

Jan. 23: Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation holds a public hearing on recycling in Albany.