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MTA Announces $51.5 Billion Capital Plan, Aims to Modernize the Subways

(Photo: MTA New York City Transit / Leonard Wiggins.)

Sept. 17, 2019 By Allie Griffin

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) released its proposed 2020-2024 capital plan Monday that calls for a $51.5 billion investment in the region’s subways, buses and railroads over the next five years. 

The proposal outlines a series of projects the authority hopes to tackle in that time, including adding 1,900 new subway cars, making 70 stations ADA accessible, replacing outdated signal systems, and building phase two of the Second Avenue subway to East Harlem. 

The proposed funding is the highest in the MTA’s history, increasing the investment level by 70 percent over the current plan. The plan would invest nearly $40 billion in the New York City Transit’s subways and buses alone, $5.7 billion in the Long Island Rail Road, $4.7 billion in Metro-North Railroad, and $3.3 billion in MTA Bridges and Tunnels.

The proposal calls for about 175 subway stations to be repaired and the replacement of 60 miles of subway track. The MTA plans to add modern signaling systems to six additional segments of the system–including along the N and W lines between Ditmars Blvd. and 57th Street in Manhattan. 

The plan would also see the replacement of 2,200 buses with new electric, hybrid and compressed natural gas bases. The bus fleet would also be expanded by about 175 additional buses.

The capital plan comes two years after the MTA launched its Subway Action Plan where it has spent nearly $1 billion to make short-term fixes to the decaying system.

“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, and as we move forward we will rise to that challenge on behalf of our customers,” said MTA New York City Transit President Andy Byford.

The proposal is dependent on the MTA securing the $50-plus billion to pay for it. About $15 billion is expected to come from bonds issued against the revenue generated by congestion pricing. Another $10 billion will be issued against new sources of tax revenue.

The MTA anticipates another $10.68 billion from federal funding programs and said that Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged $3 billion from the state, pending legislature approval. The agency has asked Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City of New York to pledge an equal amount as Cuomo. 

The remaining $9.8 billion would come from the MTA bonds backed by longstanding dedicated taxes, fares and revenues from existing tolling. 

20-24 Capital Plan Overview… by Queens Post on Scribd

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Larry Penner

The challenge facing the MTA is how to come up with $51 billion to pay for the next 2020 – 2024 Five Year Capital Plan. Too much is dependent upon a number of taxes and fees including Real Estate Transfer and Internet Sales Tax along with Congestion Price Tolling which combined equal $25 billion plus $10.7 billion in anticipated Federal Transit Administration funding. Congestion Pricing does not kick in until January 2021 or the second year of a five year capital program. The final details of who will pay what have yet to be worked out. Many elected officials continue lobbying for exemptions for those who provide essential services such as police, fire or teachers, low income, outer borough suburban and out of state residents, seniors, physically challenged, small commercial based delivery businesses or other special niches. Some of these exemptions will be adopted to placate different elected officials constituents. As a result, the MTA may not be able to count on all $15 billion in congestion pricing funding. A downturn in the economy could also result in less revenue from the Real Estate Transfer, Internet Sales and other tax income sources. The MTA could easily end up with a shortfall in the billions. .

Do not initiate any new system expansion projects such as the $7 billion Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 until each operating agency, NYC Transit bus and subway, MTA bus, Long Island Rail Road and Metro North Rail Road have reached a state of good repair for existing fleet, stations, elevators, escalators, signals, interlockings, track, power, yards and shops. This should also include insuring a majority of subway and commuter rail stations are in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities (ADA) Act. Ensure that maintenance programs for all operating agencies assets are fully funded and completed on time to ensure riders safe uninterrupted reliable service. This must be the #1 priority for the proposed MTA Five Year 2020 – 2024 Capital Plan.

Larry Penner

(Larry Penner is a transportation historian, writer and advocate who previously worked 31 years for the United States Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, NYC Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road MTA Bus, Nassau County NICE Bus, New Jersey Transit along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ).

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Allen

MTA is rotten to the core!!!
We have a governor that controls the MTA but wants no accountability.
We have corrupt MTA executives that receive kickbacks on every job.
We have corrupt union workers that get paid for no show jobs.
The worst run government agency in NY!

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