New transit projects in NY and NJ promise to improve your commute

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NEW YORK — Will major transit projects in NY and NJ improve commutes?

Millions of people move around the region every day, in all kinds of ways.

Transit agencies are working overtime to make repairs, improvements, and keep up with ridership.

New York’s major transit project reaches across the region.

Penn Station upgrades are continuing this summer to upgrade tracks and signals. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says new entrances will be open next year and the new train hall at the Moinahan Station across the street by 2022.

East Side Access will bring the LIRR to Grand Central. After delays and nearly triple the cost, it’s supposed to be done by the end of 2022.

More than 100 LIRR projects are underway. The major work is a new 13-mile, third track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma. A second track from Floral Park to Hicksville allows more trains to keep running.

Four new Metro-North Stations are planned to expand options to Hunts Point, Parkchester, Morris Park, Co-Op City

The LGA AirTrain is in the planning process and more community meetings are being held this month on the plan to connect LaGuardia to Willets Point subway/LIRR station.

In New Jersey, the big challenges have been funding and staffing.

NJ Governor Phil Murphy increased the NJ Transit budget by $100 million. They’re hiring and training more transit crews.

The Gateway Tunnel project would double capacity between New York and New Jersey. Federal funding is required to move it beyond the design phase.

Amtrak and the state of New Jersey have announced more improvements this summer at the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River. It opens to allow marine traffic to pass but it sometimes does not re-close which slows the down entire northeast corridor.

PATH has been improving stations and installing positive train control. Expanding the PATH train from Newark to Newark Airport has been talked about for years.

There is a design for Light-Rail Expansion between North Bergen and Englewood, but funding is again the issue.

MTA NYC Transit is redesigning all 322 bus routes with input from riders. Fifty new stations will become accessible in the next five years.

More trains can’t run without an updated signal system on all the lines. That’s a $30 billion project that has not been funded.

Veronica Vanterpool, an MTA Board Member and former executive director of tri-state Transportation Campaign, is a transit rider and lifelong New Yorker.

“For a city that is transit dependent and with low car ownership every, elected official should be pushing for it and that’s not what we see,” Vanterpool said.

The legislature and Governor Cuomo approved a congestion pricing plan for vehicle travel south of 61st street in Manhattan. That fee will be developed in 2020 and it’s set to take effect in the beginning of 2021.

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson and some council members have called for the city of New York to take control of the transit system.

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