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The State Of New York 'Didn't Consult' With The City Of New York About Its Self-Driving Car Plans For Manhattan

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Yesterday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that self-driving cars could start being tested in the Manhattan next year. Today, NYC officials said that it would’ve been nice for Cuomo to have included the city in this decision.

Cuomo loves big announcements and press, especially when it comes to infrastructure projects, like opening a new bridge named for his father, or a new bridge named after a Polish Revolutionary War general, or the Second Avenue Subway.


And so yesterday’s announcement was of a piece, Cuomo happily issuing a statement announcing yet another transportation breakthrough under his watch, this time a plan to possibly allow GM to test self-driving cars in Manhattan in early 2018. The problem is that city officials said they had little idea this was coming.

From The New York Times:

Nonetheless, the announcement was greeted with skepticism from various corners, including officials in the de Blasio administration, who raised concerns about the program.

“The city wasn’t give much notice of this idea and we certainly weren’t consulted,” said Eric Phillips, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We have very real safety concerns. We are obviously looking forward to some detail on this idea before any cars hit the streets.”

The governor’s office disputed the account; Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, said talks with city began on the subject in August. “This hyperventilating is more than a little silly.”


“This hyperventilating is more than a little silly,” is a quality on-the-record quote from an official government spokesman, and definitely indicative of a healthy relationship between the governor and the mayor, who have been feuding seemingly endlessly since De Blasio took office in 2014.

Gentlemen! Get your act together.

A few more details from the NYT:

The driverless trials will include two passengers: an engineer sitting behind the wheel to monitor and evaluate performance, and a second person in the passenger seat, according to the governor’s announcement. Such tests were recently made legal with legislation passed as part of New York’s 2018 budget.

GM’s Cruise Automation unit is expected to carry out the tests, should the relevant permits be approved. Maybe Cuomo will tell the mayor’s office then. Or maybe not. The press will surely hear about it in either case.

Update: The headline was amended to make it clear that it was an accusation.