Let’s take a closer look at the increases in relief for transit and Amtrak; consider how they will affect service; and examine what transit, Amtrak and their riders can expect in the near future.
New York MTA
While MTA New York City Transit’s (NYCT) overnight shutdown has not been canceled, it will be cut in half.
The new East End Gateway entrance to the Long Island Rail Road Concourse at Penn Station opened to the public at 12:00 pm Dec. 31. Described by New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Construction & Development as “visually remarkable” and “high-capacity,” the entrance, located at 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue gives Penn Station “a front door identity on Seventh Avenue for the first time” while providing direct access for customers headed from street level to the LIRR, as well as to NYC Transit’s 1-2-3 and A-C-E subway lines. Prior to the new entrance, customers had to wind their way through Penn Station’s Amtrak level to reach the LIRR Concourse.
Officials at New York MTA’s Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) announced Dec. 23 that implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) was complete, just ahead of the Dec. 31, 2020, federal deadline. They teamed with systems integrator Siemens Mobility and Bombardier Transportation on the project.
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) two commuter railroads are starting a pilot test this month of a railcar air filtration and purification system from Knorr Brake Co. and its subsidiary Merak North America LLC.
New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye sent warning letters to MTA’s 11 largest suppliers on Sept. 17. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacted a horrific toll in human, social and economic terms across the nation,” he noted in the letters. “I am writing to alert you that because of this financial devastation, many current and all future contracts are in jeopardy without an injection of $12 billion in emergency federal aid.”
Starting Monday, Sept. 14, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will issue a $50 fine to any rider who refuses to wear a mask on New York City subways and buses, Metro-North Railroad (MNR), and the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). This follows New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s executive order on Thursday, Sept. 10, directing the MTA to develop a plan to increase mask compliance.
Fitch Ratings has assigned a rating of “A+” to approximately $600 million of Transportation Revenue Bonds (TRB) Series 2020D (Mandatory Tender Bonds) and a rating of “F1” to $500 million of transportation revenue Series 2020B Bond Anticipation Notes (BANs) to be issued by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The bonds and BANs will be sold via negotiation; the sale date and principal amount are both subject to market conditions. Proceeds will finance existing approved transit and commuter projects. Fitch has affirmed at “A+” approximately $24.4 billion of outstanding TRBs. The Rating Outlook is Negative.
Sally Librera, the first woman appointed MTA New York City Transit Senior Vice President Subways, has resigned, effective July 24.
According to a report in THE CITY, the New York MTA is expected to announce that a 60-day hold on capital projects announced in March will remain in place while the transit agency tries to secure another $3.9 billion in emergency federal funding.