Monday, August 10, 2009

MTA plans new five-year, $25.5 billion capital program

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New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) released a proposed new five-year capital investment program Monday. It adds up to $25.5 billion and includes, during the period 2010-2014, more than 500 new subway cars, 410 new regional railcars, 2,800 buses, signaling improvements and upgrades for the subways and regional railroads, station improvements, and improved access for the disabled.

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MTA also released a draft 20-Year Capital Needs Assessment Plan. "Taken  together, these documents identify the MTA's long-term infrastructure needs and a short-term plan to begin addressing them within current budget expectations," said the agency. They are available online at www.mta.info, where the public can also submit comments.

An MTA statements said: "Since 1982, the MTA has invested more than $75 billion in six successive programs that have restored the legacy of a system once on the brink of collapse. As a result, ridership levels are the highest since the 1950s, and our infrastructure is more reliable than ever: The distance subway traveled between breakdowns has increased 1800% for subway cars and 670% for buses and more than 500% for commuter rail cars.

"The proposed 2010-2029 Twenty Year Needs and Preliminary2010-2014 Capital Program are based on two guiding principles–rebuild the MTA's infrastructure and expand its system to accommodate growing demand. The $25.5 billion Proposed Draft 2010-2014 program focuses first and foremost on rebuilding the MTA's core infrastructure, which makes up 73% of the total program. Many of the proposed investments repair and replace fundamental components of the transit system," the MTA said.

In addition to rolling stock, signaling, and station improvements, the MTA contemplates such technological improvements as:

• A new contactless fare payment system to more fully integrate regional travel;

• Real timecustomer information to allow customers to optimize trip planning;

• Bus rapid transit initiatives, using low-floor buses, off-board fare collection, dedicated bus lanes, and signal prioritization to speed bus service;

• New train control systems to increase capacity and safety on subways and commuter railroads; and

• New subway transfers and strategic commuter rail investments to make the existing system work better for customers.

MTA said these " rebuilding investments are complemented by investments to expand the system to meet growing regional demand.

MTA's expansion plan includes the completion of its three ongoing projects and analysis of a number of new initiatives:

• First phase of the Second Avenue Subway, which will relieve overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue subway lines and carry more than 200,000 customers;

• East Side Access, which will save 76,000 daily customers up to 40 minutes a day by bringing LIRR trains to Grand Central Terminal;

• Extension of the 7 subway line to 34th Street and 11th Avenue, which will support development of Manhattan's Far West Side;

• Study of Staten Island's North and West Shore travel corridors, which will identify ways to support faster and more reliable transit service on Staten Island;

• Queens Boulevard Corridor study, which will evaluate solutions for meeting today's high demand and serving projected population and employment growth as well;

• Regional bus analysis to learn about the opportunities and challenges of a more unified regional bus system; and

• Continued study of Tappan Zee corridor, which will evaluate alternatives for the Bridge, including transit, to reduce congestion and improve mobility.