After promising a "full-blown NYCT renaissance," NYC Transit chief Andy Byford today unveiled an ambitious 10-year plan to rehaul the city's extensive but beleaguered subway and bus system. At an MTA board meeting on Wednesday, Byford presented "Fast Forward: The Plan to Modernize New York City Transit," addressing one leading cause of subway meltdowns, "We believe that we can deliver nearly, not entirely but nearly, the entire subway system onto modern signaling within ten years."

He also emphasized the urgency, "Not acting now is not an option, and it will only get more difficult and more expensive. I believe this can be achieved and we now have a road map."

WNYC's Stephen Nessen reports that the plan (75-page PDF here) promises to "update all signals in 10 years, double pace of accessibility" and "speed up the MetoCard replacement"—"as well as create station managers responsible for cleanliness of their stations."

From the MTA's Fast Forward Plan

From the MTA's Fast Forward Plan

However, the cost of all this is a big TBD, and MTA funding squabbles have intensified in the past year, thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. The NY Times reported that the plan would cost more than $19 billion, according to two sources, while the Post's sources said it "would see $19 billion spent in the first five years, and another $18 billion in the next five."

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota praised Byford's plan for its bold thinking. As for the NY Times' story about Lhota's many demanding gigs beyond running the MTA, the unpaid part-time chairman of the largest subway system in the world shrugged off any speculation about conflicts of interest.

Anyway, Byford says he's ready to transform NYC's mass transit system: