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MTA Capital Plan Would Open Train Service to Penn for Sound Shore

The largest-ever capital plan in Metropolitan Transportation Authority history includes nearly $5 billion for Metro-North, an investment that will help open Manhattan’s West Side to Westchester County commuters for the first time and fix aging track underneath Grand Central Terminal.

The MTA’s five-year, $51.5 billion capital plan announced Monday will increase spending on infrastructure for the authority’s subways, bridges, tunnels and commuter rails by 70 percent over current levels.

“The MTA’s investment in Metro North is vital to the economic health of the region and will help propel the transit-oriented developments currently happening in our urban centers,’’ said Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester. “New Rochelle, which is on the cusp of an economic resurgence, will particularly benefit from direct train service to Penn Station. This is certainly good news for Westchester.”

Some $4.7 billion has been earmarked for Metro-North’s Penn Station Access Plan, which will create four new train stations in the Bronx, as well as upgrades to the Grand Central Trainshed, Park Avenue Viaduct and other fixes.

The Penn Station Access Project is expected to serve some 50,000 customers per day. Commuters from the Sound Shore towns of New Rochelle, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Rye, Port Chester and Harrison would, for the first time, have a one-seat ride to the West Side of Manhattan. The plan calls for New Haven Line trains to split after New Rochelle, with some trains heading to Grand Central and others into Penn Station.

Other Metro-North programs that will receive funding under the MTA’s capital program for the years 2020-24:

  • $621 million to improve accessibility at stations and deliver wheelchair access to nearly 80 percent of Metro-North stations. Harlem Line stations in the Bronx and Westchester County will be improved and repairs will be made to stations on the upper Hudson and Harlem lines.
  • $485 million to replace Metro-North’s fleet of 140 electric-powered M3 cars.
  • $187 million for improvements on Metro-North service West of Hudson, which includes the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines. The railroad says the investment will improve reverse-peak and off-peak service and support a 60 percent increase in daily service.
  • $184 million to improve infrastructure on the Harlem Line, including the construction of two electrical substations, the design of three more and expanded parking at Southeast Station.

About $25 billion of the plan will come from bonds backed by revenue streams authorized in this year’s state budget, the MTA said. Another $15 billion will come from tolls on drivers using Manhattan’s Central Business District, an initiative passed by state lawmakers and signed into law by Gov Andrew Cuomo earlier this year. The remainder will come from federal, state and local resources.

“The proposed 2020-2024 Capital Program will allow Metro-North to continue its aggressive programs to upgrade its aging infrastructure and to improve the customer experience,” said Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi.

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