New York MTA: $51.5 billion Capex Plan

Written by David Briginshaw, Consulting Editor, International Railway Journal

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on Sept. 16 released a proposed $51.5 billion 2020-2024 capital investment plan it describes as “by far the highest in the MTA’s history, increasing spending on infrastructure by 70% over current levels.” MTA plans to invest more than $40 billion in New York City Transit subways and buses as well as make major investments in the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North commuter rail networks.

“This proposed 2020-2024 Capital Program—the most ambitious capital plan in the agency’s history—builds on the success of the Subway Action Plan, and with new tools such as design-build and the reorganization that is under way we’re certain we can deliver for our customers,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye. “This plan expands service, increases reliability, speeds up the system, and delivers the world’s largest ever investment in accessibility, for both NYC Transit and the MTA’s commuter railroads. At the end of this five-year period, New Yorkers will see a revitalized and modern system for the 21st century and beyond.”

MTA says the single largest source of funds for the plan, $25 billion, will come from bonds backed by new revenue streams authorized in this year’s New York State budget, including $15 billion from a controversial congestion pricing plan for New York City’s central business district that was passed by the state legislature and signed into law in April by Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of the state’s 2020 fiscal year budget.

MTA expects to receive $10.68 billion from federal funding sources, while another $10 billion will come from bonds backed by newly established revenue sources dedicated to public transport. The state has pledged $3 billion, and the City of New York has been asked to pledge an equal amount. The remaining $9.8 billion will come from the MTA in the form of pay-as-you-go capital contributions and bonds backed by long-standing dedicated taxes, fares and revenues from existing road tolls.

New York City Transit (NYCT)

An investment of $37.3 billion is proposed in the New York City subway, including:

• Second Avenue Subway Phase 2: $4.5 billion to complete the project, with funding split approximately 50/50 between the federal government and MTA resources. The project includes three new stations serving 300,000 daily riders and a new connection with Metro-North Railroad.

• Signaling including CBTC: $7.1 billion to provide more frequent and reliable services on six subway lines, including the Lexington Avenue Line, serving more than 50% of NYCT passengers.

• Rolling stock: $6.1 billion for 1,900 new subway cars, as well refurbishing existing cars to improve mechanical reliability to mitigate up to 10% of delays.

• Station accessibility: $5.2 billion to make 70 stations accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act so that no passenger will be no more than two stations away from an accessible station.

• Station improvements: $4.1 billion to conduct critical repairs at about 175 stations, including replacement of 78 elevators and 65 escalators.

• Track: $2.6 billion to replace 60 miles of track and install 20 miles of continuous welded rail.

“These proposed investments in our subways and buses [are] beyond my wildest expectations,” said NYCT President Andy Byford. “The system has been stabilized, and this capital plan offers us an extraordinary opportunity to now modernize it and provide world-class transit options to New Yorkers in an unprecedented time frame.”

Long Island Rail Road

MTA will invest $5.7 billion to enable “an historic transformation” of the LIRR by the planned December 2022 opening of East Side Access to allow more than 160,000 daily passengers to travel to Grand Central Terminal, saving commuters up to 40 minutes per day. The associated Main Line Expansion scheme will add a 110-mile third track on the Main Line corridor, used by 40% of LIRR commuters. These projects, along with capacity improvements at Jamaica, will enable a 60% increase in reverse commute and a 50% increase in peak service between Manhattan and Long Island.

Other investment priorities include $1 billion for track upgrading and $487 million to purchase 160 new M-9 EMU cars to expand the electric fleet by 13%, plus nearly 20 coaches and more than 10 locomotives for non-electrified lines.

Metro-North Railroad

MTA will invest $4.7 billion to advance New Haven Line access to New York Penn station via four new stations in the Bronx, begin reconstruction of the Grand Central Terminal train shed and Park Avenue tunnel and viaduct, start replacement of Metro-North’s fleet of M3 EMU cars, improve stations, and prepare for capacity improvements on the Harlem Line and Port Jervis Line (operated by NJ Transit and serving Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey).

“Under this plan, we will begin the replacement of the Park Avenue Viaduct, one of the most significant construction projects in the history of the MTA Metro-North Railroad,” explains Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi. “It also includes additional funding for the Penn Access project, which will enhance our network by creating a Metro-North connection between the East Bronx and Penn Station.”

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