Op-Ed | How the MTA plans to invest new federal funding

MTA’s Janno Lieber.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin

Christmas got here early for the MTA this 12 months when Congress handed the long-awaited bipartisan infrastructure invoice on November 5. Thanks to the management of our hometown hero Senator Chuck Schumer, New York State is wanting ahead to $10 billion or extra in new cash for mass transit. 

This funding will likely be used for long-term enhancements and upgrades for the subway, bus, and commuter rail techniques, together with 2020-2024 Capital Program highlights like new subway indicators, extra electrical buses, and accessibility tasks at dozens of stations. We’re firmly targeted on the future and the way we are able to enhance public transportation popping out of the pandemic. In spite of everything, the MTA is the financial engine that powers the regional restoration. 

Governor Hochul set the tone that we’d like to suppose massive together with her revised proposal for Penn Station. Her plan requires reworking the deservedly maligned station from the dilapidated dungeon we all know at present right into a world-class transit hub, largely by eradicating most of the higher degree to create Moynihan Practice Corridor and Grand Central-sized passenger circulation and ceiling heights—and likewise to permit pure gentle into the station for the first in 60 years. The Governor has additionally made it clear she needs to get it finished a lot, a lot sooner than beforehand deliberate. 

Some critics have complained that the Governor’s plan fails to improve rail capability, however I don’t see that as legitimate. We positively want to add new tracks and platforms at Penn. That’s a part of the Gateway Challenge and New York has already dedicated billions for new Hudson River Tunnels. However Amtrak’s plan requires the new tunnels to be finished in 2035. In the meantime, why ought to riders be compelled to use a station that the New York Occasions has described as “one of the most claustrophobic, confusing and spirit-throttling spaces in the city?” The reply is straightforward: they shouldn’t.

We’ve a uncommon window of alternative now to construct on momentum that began with the opening of the East Finish Gateway final 12 months at thirty third St and seventh Ave and the ongoing work to the LIRR Concourse in Penn Station. Moynihan Practice Corridor is open and serving nearly all Amtrak clients. East Facet Entry is getting nearer to completion, which is able to shift a big portion of LIRR riders to Grand Central. And work is about to start on Penn Station Entry, the transformative megaproject that can construct 4 new Metro-North stations in the East Bronx and convey Metro-North trains into Penn Station for the first time. 

If we time it proper, we might have a brand-new Penn towards the finish of the decade, simply in time for Metro-North service to start. There’s no time to waste. Let’s get to work.

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