NEW YORK — After being put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced Wednesday it has advanced its Metro-North Penn Station project.
The MTA’s Environmental Assessment was published, which begins a 45-day period for public comment. During this period, the public will be able to review project documents online and in-person. A virtual public meeting will be held June 15 at 6 p.m.
The project is expected to bring more local MTA service to the Metro-North rail line, which is currently being used by Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, significantly reducing travel times for residents in East Bronx, according to the MTA.
The commute from Parkchester to Penn Station would be cut to as little as 20 minutes, down from the current 60-minute travel time.
“Additional mass transit capacity is always a plus for the environment,” said Janno Lieber, President of MTA Construction & Development. “With this project we also have the additional environmental benefit of rebuilding an existing rail facility to provide more service for more people rather than building a whole new line from scratch.”
Four new Metro-North stations would also be built at Hunts Point, Parkchester/Van Nest, Morris Park and Co-op City, allowing more Bronx residents to reach the west side of Manhattan.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo had previously announced during his May 13 press briefing that the project would resume after being put on hold due to the pandemic.
The federal government has signed off on the plan, and $1.58 billion has dedicated to build it, according to the governor.
It is expected to be completed by 2025.
The push to get Metro-North stations in the East Bronx has been talked about for decades, but funding and government commitments were only made in recent years. New York City’s Department of City Planning conducted a three-year planning process that concluded in 2014. It, in turn, played a role in the state’s funding approval.
During that time however, Amtrak, which owns the tracks where the new trains would ride, had not agreed to the project because it didn’t want it to jeopardize any of its own railway projects.
PIX11’s James Ford contributed to this report.