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New York's MTA to renovate subway stations, equip them with Wi-Fi

Passengers watch as a subway train pulls into the new 34th St./Hudson Yards subway station in midtown Manhattan, New York, September 13, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority will modernize 30 subway stations, adding Wi-Fi and cellphone services as part of a $26 billion spending plan, Chairman Tom Prendergast said on Friday.

Joining Prendergast was Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been laying out extensive infrastructure plans for the state. They will include rebuilding Pennsylvania Station, expanding rail services to Long Island and revamping regional airports.

New York’s subway system has lagged behind others. Prendergast pointed to heated seats enjoyed by riders in Seoul, South Korea, and glass doors on subways platforms and electronic ticketing on other systems.

“The old way of doing business at the MTA is over,” Prendergast said at a presentation at the New York transit Museum in Brooklyn. He said the agency would try to use public-private partnerships in modernizing the system.

Prendergast said the MTA would expand Wi-Fi to all 278 stations by the end of the year and to introduce it across the city’s bus fleet.

Plans also call for rolling out 200 subway cars with UBS charging ports this year and another 400 next year.

The MTA passed a $29 billion, five-year capital plan in October. It includes $26.1 billion in spending on core MTA networks and $2.9 billion for bridges and tunnels operated by the agency. The state is contributing $8.3 billion to the plan.

“The future is mass transportation,” said Cuomo, who will deliver his state-of-the-state address on Wednesday. He has promised to present a blueprint for the state’s largest construction program ever.

Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn