MTA releases $51.5 billion plan for improvements

NEW YORK — Transit riders have a wish list of improvements and the MTA issued its own official plan on Monday

The $51.5 billion proposal is the largest in the history of the agency.

It calls for nearly $40 billion in new projects for NYC Transit. That would include 1,900 new subway cars, 2,400 new buses and new signals on six lines, including the Lexington Line.

70 additional stations will be made accessible. In a statement that listed some of the projects the MTA says the "goal is that no customer will be no more than two stations away from an accessible station."

It includes funding for Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway from a mixture of federal and local sources.

The capital plan allocates more than $10 billion for track and station projects for the Long Island Rail Road and MetroNorth.

About $3 billion would be spent for improvements on MTA Bridges and Tunnels. That funding would come from tolls.

The MTA Board reviews the proposal later this month and the public will have a chance to comment. The state and city will discuss how to fund it with federal partners, as well.

Click here to send an email to MTA about the proposal.

Congestion pricing is set to begin in 2021 and that will cover about $15 billion. Additional bond money would be borrowed. Specifics about the congestion pricing plan will be set after the 2020 elections.

“This proposed 2020-2024 Capital Program – the most ambitious capital plan in the agency’s history – builds on the success of the Subway Action Plan, and with new tools such as Design-Build and the reorganization that is underway we’re certain we can deliver for our customers,” said MTA Chairman & CEO Pay Foye.

Every 5 years the MTA goes through this process.

The Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC) is hopeful about the investments.

"We’re also concerned that the Board will only have a week to consider this $51 Billion plan before voting to send it to the Capital Program Review Board – and clearly missing is how the proposed projects fit into the agency’s 20 Year Needs Assessment, which should be the guiding document for the capital plan, but is nowhere to be found," said PCAC Executive Director Lisa Daglian.

Here's a list of some specific projects:

  • Station Improvements: $4.1 billion to address components in need of critical repair at about 175 stations, including replacement of 78 elevators and 65 escalators
  • Track Upgrades: $2.6 billion to replace 60 miles of track and install 20 miles of continuous welded rail
  • Replacement and Additional Buses: $2.5 billion to replace 2,200 of the oldest buses, including with electric, hybrid and compressed natural gas buses, and expand the fleet size by more than 175 buses. It would invest $1.1 billion to modify depots for electric bus operations and to purchase 500 electric buses.
  • Customer Experience Improvements: $109 million to accelerate the rollout of on-board digital information screens to provide real-time service information, add bus lane cameras that improve traffic enforcement, and add equipment for traffic signal priority, bringing for faster service to bus customers

Upgrades for Long Island Rail Road are listed at $5.7 Billion. It will happen, according to the media release, "by the planned December 2022 opening of East Side Access and Main Line Expansion."

East Side Access will allow more than 160,000 daily customers to travel to Grand Central Terminal, saving commuters up to 40 minutes per day. Main Line Expansion will add a third track on 10 miles of the Main Line corridor, used by 40% of LIRR customers.

The railroad say "these projects, along with Jamaica Capacity Improvements, will enable a 60% increase in reverse commute and a 50% increase in peak service between Manhattan and Long Island."

  • LIRR Track Upgrades: $1 billion to install concrete ties and continuous welded rail to increase durability, reliability and customer comfort. The railroad will upgrade and reconfigure infrastructure at Jamaica to improve reliability. This will bring more than 90% of track assets to a state of good repair.
  • LIRR Station Accessibility and Improvements: $910 million to make seven additional stations accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; 93% of stations, serving 97% of customers, would be accessible.
  • LIRR Signals and Switches: $364 million to replace 32% of switches, 21% of track circuits and 11% of grade crossing equipment at the locations with highest maintenance needs.
  • LIRR Rolling Stock: $487 million to purchase 160 M9A new electric cars, expanding the fleet by 13%. LIRR will purchase nearly 20 coaches and more than 10 locomotives serving the railroad’s non-electrified territory.

MTA Metro-North Railroad says $4.7 billion will advance New Haven Line access to Penn Station with four new stations in the Bronx. It also plans to begin reconstruction of the Grand Central Terminal train shed and Park Avenue tunnel and viaduct.

  • MetroNorth Stations Accessibility and Improvements: $621 million to add accessibility improvements at up to four stations, bringing wheelchair access to 78% of stations serving 93% of customers, renew stations on the Harlem Line in the Bronx and southern Westchester County, and make priority component repairs at stations on the upper Hudson Line and upper Harlem Line.
  • MetroNorth Rolling Stock: $485 million to begin begin replacement of 140 M3 electric cars. This is expected to reduce delays.
  • MetroNorth West of Hudson Improvements: $187 million to pursue the phased construction of core infrastructure needed to allow reverse-peak and better off-peak service, including state-of-good-repair needs, and support the potential future increase in daily service of up to 60%.
  • Harlem Line Capacity Improvements: $184 million on infrastructure work to improve reliability and support a future third track on the Harlem Line, including building two new electrical substations, designing three more, and relocating and expanding parking at Southeast Station to allow for future Brewster Yard expansion.

The plan at MTA Bridges and Tunnels (TBTA) would enable construction of the infrastructure needed for central business district tolling and bring safety and traffic flow improvements to the MTA’s crossings. MTA says that TBTA spending is not subject to CPRB approval and is not included the total spending.

  • Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge Upgrades: $1.1 billion to rebuild Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge approach ramps; the non-standard left-hand exits will be modernized and reconfigured to right-hand exits. These projects are expected to reduce annual collisions by up to 25%. The plan funds the widening of two miles of the eastbound Belt Parkway.
  • RFK Bridge Upgrades: $719 million to rebuild the Randall’s Island access ramps, and design a widening of the southbound FDR Drive between 125th Street and 116th Street and a new access ramp from the Bruckner Expressway to the RFK Bridge. The completed projects will save the 170,000 daily customers 400,000 hours in travel time annually.
  • Throgs Neck Bridge Marine Protection: $144 million for a new fender systems at the Throgs Neck Bridge’s two towers would protect the bridge from accidental collisions from marine traffic.
  • Henry Hudson Bridge Reconstruction: $135 million to continue reconstruction of the Henry Hudson Bridge, in combination with the implementation of open road tolling is expected to reduce potential collisions by up to 41% and save 73,000 daily customers up to 100,000 hours in annual travel time.
  • Tunnel Ventilation: $58 million to work on the ventilation/service buildings at the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, and the design of water mist/fire suppression systems installation, improving safety for the more than 137,000 daily weekday customers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement on the capital plan:

"Last week I laid out my priorities for the MTA Capital Plan, including improving signal technology, increasing accessibility, addressing quality of life concerns, ensuring equity for LIRR and Metro-North Railroad, and upgrading bus service - and I will review the details of the plan to make sure it fulfills those priorities. The Senate Leader, Assembly Speaker and Mayor of New York City must approve the plan in order to move forward as they each have unilateral discretionary veto power. For decades the MTA was mismanaged and underfunded - that is why in 2017 we invested $836 million for the Subway Action Plan and $8 billion in State capital funds and $2.6 billion in New York City Capital funds. The success of that plan is inarguable - it led to the recent 84% on-time performance rate, a six-year high - but its implementation was delayed, and that cannot be repeated with this new plan. We have secured $25 billion during this year's legislative session that will go directly towards the MTA's capital needs outlined in this plan, and I support an additional State investment of $3 billion, to be matched by the City, that will go toward making our subways more accessible. We have an historic opportunity to institutionalize the lessons learned, build on the progress made under the Subway Action Plan and make crucial upgrades so riders get the 21st century transit system they deserve."

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