MTA plans improvement projects with federal funds

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NEW YORK — We’re still in a pandemic, but crisis planning isn’t the only item on the MTA’s agenda. 

During the monthly board meeting and in comments to reporters, transit officials talked about plans for the future, as $14.5 billion in federal funding has been allocated to keep the trains, buses, bridges and tunnels running through 2024. 

Those funds provide for the day-to-day operations. Transit workers will staff their posts and maintain the various systems. 

MTA officials say safety and cleanliness are top priorities. 

NYC Transit Presdient Sarah Feinberg said the agency is looking ahead to the restoration of 24-hour service “soon.”

But what does the future look like? There are still many unknowns. 

Ridership hit a record of 1.9 million swipes at the beginning of this month. It normally would be around 5 million subway rides daily. How quickly ridership returns will impact the budget and future plans.  

MTA Chairman Patrick Foye and staff are watching how ridership and drivers return. 

“There’s good news, but also a lot of uncertainty with congestion pricing,” he said. 

Chairman Foye says he is encouraged by this administration’s approach to congestion pricing. 

The plan, which was approved in 2019 by the New York State legislature and Gov. Cuomo, requires federal approval. It was designed to cover a portion of the $50 billion dollar capital plan. 

MTA Chief Financial Officer Robert Foran says the federal funding will allow the agency to issue bonds, which will also contribute to funding the capital plan. 

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) says the state legislature is prioritizing transit funding in the state budget. 

“There’s lot of work to be done and no shortage of projects the money could go to. Step number one is getting the system functioning right,” he said. 

Bus improvements were also being discussed prior to the beginning of the pandemic. 

The major projects have included signal modernization and accessibility improvements at hundreds of stations. 

There have been plans to continue the northern extension of the 2nd Avenue Subway and add Metro-North Stations in the Bronx. 

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