MTA plans to ‘greatly increase closures’ so they can make subway repairs

NEW YORK — The sweeping MTA plan announced Wednesday to drastically cut down on the amount of time it will take to update and improve the subway system will also require substantial line closures for the duration of the decade-long work.

MTA NYC Transit President Andy Byford's Fast Forward Plan makes upgrades and repairs in two phases over 10 years, instead of the previously anticipated 40 years required. The first phase will affect the 4, 5, 6, A, C, E, F, M, R, G and 7 lines. MTA work over the following five years will be on the 1, 2, 3, B, D, F, M, A, C, N, R, Q and S lines.

Commuters can expect "continuous night and weekend closures for up to 2.5 years per line," but MTA officials believe the work is needed.

"Getting there will require short-term sacrifices for long-term gains. It will be hard for customers," the document detailing the plan reads. "Your bus stop might change. Your station might close for a period of time. The line you normally take might not be available on nights and weekends. But the inconvenience now will be much less than the damage done to our communities by a continued long, slow decline in transit."

The exact cost of the work is not yet known. Paying for it might involve congestion pricing or a millionaires tax, NYC Transportation Department Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

"I’m sure there will be a big price tag," she said.

It will only get more difficult and expensive if repairs are put off, Byford said.

"Not acting now is not an option," he said. "I believe this can be achieved and we now have a road map."