MTA releases proposed 2020-2024 Capital Plan, directing historic level of investment to make system faster, more accessible and more reliable

Sept. 17, 2019
The proposed $51.5 billion investment is the largest Capital Plan in MTA history and will go towards funding the largest programs for both MTA commuter railroads. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) released its 2020-2024 Capital Plan which proposes investing $51.5 billion into the region’s subways, buses and railroads over the next five years to institutionalize and build on the progress of the Subway Action Plan, and create a faster, more accessible and more reliable public transportation system.  

The proposed level of investment is the highest in MTA’s history, increasing spending on infrastructure by 70 percent more than current levels, which were already the highest ever. The program plans to invest more than $40 billion in New York City Transit’s subways and buses alone – including crucial signal upgrades – as well as major investment in the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North. 

“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 underway we’re certain we can deliver for our customers,” said Patrick Foye, MTA Chairman & CEO. “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, and at the end of this five-year period, New Yorkers will see a revitalized and modern system for the 21st century and beyond.” 

“This plan represents an extraordinary investment in the North America’s largest transit network,” said Ronnie Hakim, MTA Managing Director. “It is ambitious yet sound and will allow us to make crucial enhancements to the system and improve the experience for our riders daily.” 

The program proposes to invest more than $40 billion in New York City Transit’s subways and buses alone. 

MTA New York City Subways -- $37.3 billion The proposed capital program will modernize the subways by adding capacity, increasing reliability and accelerating accessibility. The program includes full funding for Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway from a mixture of federal and local sources. Systemwide priority initiatives funded by the plan include signal modernization, new subway cars, station accessibility, station improvements and track replacement. 

“These proposed investments in our subways and buses have delivered beyond my wildest expectations,” said MTA New York City Transit 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, and as we move forward, we will rise to that challenge on behalf of our customers.” 

Signal Modernization -- $7.1 billion More frequent and reliable service would come to six subway lines, including the Lexington Avenue Line, serving more than 50 percent of riders. 

Subway Cars -- $6.1 billion The subway fleet would have 1,900 new cars added to the fleet, modernizing the customer environment and improving mechanical reliability to mitigate up to 10 percent of delays. 

Station Accessibility -- $5.2 billion Seventy stations would be made accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act so that no customer will be no more than two stations away from an accessible station; stations serving over 60 percent of passengers would be accessible. Four of these stations would be accelerated into the current 2015-2019 Capital Plan. 

Station Improvements -- $4.1 billion The MTA would perform renewal work addressing components in need of critical repair at about 175 stations, including replacement of 78 elevators and 65 escalators. 

Track Upgrades -- $2.6 billion New York City Transit would replace 60 miles of track and install 20 miles of continuous welded rail, creating a quieter ride and leading to fewer broken rails. 

Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 -- $4.55 billion This plan includes the final installment of the SAS project, which will be financed with approximately 50 percent federal funds and 50 percent MTA resources. The MTA would build three new fully accessible stations serving 300,000 daily riders across the SAS line, and a new connection with Metro-North Railroad. This phase will further relieve congestion on the Lexington Avenue Line and strengthen access to jobs and education for East Harlem residents. 

MTA New York City Buses -- $3.5 billion The proposed program calls for more than 2,400 new buses, depot improvements and customer experience upgrades. It accelerates the transition to a fleet composed fully of zero-emissions electric buses. 

Replacement and Additional Buses -- $2.5 billion The MTA would replace more than 2,200 of the oldest buses, including with electric, hybrid and compressed natural gas buses, and expand the fleet size by more than 175 buses. New buses have twice the mechanical reliability of those to be replaced as measured by distance traveled between component failures that cause delays. The MTA proposes investing $1.1 billion to modify depots for electric bus operations, and to purchase 500 electric buses, including replacement buses and some additional buses. The program will enable the MTA to acquire only electric buses beginning in 2029. 

Customer Experience Improvements -- $109 million The MTA would accelerate the rollout of on-board digital information screens to provide real-time service information, add bus lane cameras to improve traffic enforcement, and add equipment for traffic signal priority, bringing for faster service to bus customers. 

MTA Long Island Rail Road -- $5.7 Billion The proposed capital plan makes the investments necessary to enable a historic transformation of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) by the planned December 2022 opening of the East Side Access and Main Line Expansion. East Side Access will allow more than 160,000 daily customers to travel to Grand Central Terminal, saving commuters up to 40 minutes per day. Main Line Expansion will add a third track on 10 miles of the Main Line corridor, used by 40 percent of LIRR customers. These projects, along with Jamaica Capacity Improvements, will enable a 60 percent increase in reverse commute and a 50 percent increase in peak service between Manhattan and Long Island. 

“The modernization of the LIRR that has begun in recent years will continue under this program,” said LIRR President Phil Eng. “Not only will it enable us to continue to accelerate our systemwide core improvements to service safety, accessibility, reliability and comfort, it will enable us to sustain and grow Long Island’s economy and quality of life for the entire region.” 

Priority investments in the proposed capital program include track, station improvements, signals and switches, and rolling stock. 

Track Upgrades -- $1 billion The LIRR will install concrete ties and continuous welded rail to increase durability, reliability and customer comfort. The railroad will upgrade and reconfigure infrastructure at Jamaica to improve reliability. This will bring more than 90 percent of track assets to a state of good repair. 

Station Accessibility and Improvements -- $910 million The LIRR will make seven additional stations accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; 93 percent of stations serving 97 percent of customers would be accessible. The LIRR will bring component work and upgrades benefitting up to half of all riders to more than 20 stations, including platform, elevator and escalator replacements. 

Signals and Switches -- $364 million In accordance with the LIRR Forward plan to accelerate infrastructure renewal and improve train reliability, the LIRR will replace 32 percent of switches, 21 percent of track circuits and 11 percent of grade crossing equipment at the locations with highest maintenance needs. The railroad will upgrade signals and interlockings on three branches that are technologically obsolete. The total also includes spending for enhanced communications equipment. 

Rolling Stock -- $487 million The railroad will purchase 160 M9A new electric cars, expanding the fleet by 13 percent. Fleet growth allows for at least 25,000 more seats into Grand Central during the morning rush hour. The LIRR will purchase nearly 20 coaches and more than 10 locomotives serving the railroad’s non-electrified territory. 

MTA Metro-North Railroad -- $4.7 billion in New York State The proposed program advances New Haven Line access to Penn Station via four new stations in the Bronx, begins reconstruction of the Grand Central Terminal train shed and Park Avenue tunnel and viaduct, begins replacement of Metro-North’s fleet of M3 rail cars, improves stations, prepares for capacity improvements on the Harlem Line and Port Jervis Line. 

“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 Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi. “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. 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.” 

Grand Central Terminal Trainshed and Park Avenue Tunnel and Viaduct -- $895 million Metro-North will pursue Phase 1 of the replacement of the over 100-year-old structures used by more than 700 trains per day and 83 percent of customers, and will also build four new emergency exits. The Grand Central Trainshed is 75 acres under east Midtown, and the Park Avenue viaduct is 1.8 miles long, from 97th Street to the Harlem River. 

Stations Accessibility and Improvements -- $621 million Metro-North will add accessibility improvements at up to four stations, bringing wheelchair access to 78 percent of stations serving 93 percent of customers, renew stations on the Harlem Line in the Bronx and southern Westchester County, and make priority component repairs at stations on the upper Hudson Line and upper Harlem Line. This work will benefit 60 percent of customers. 

Rolling Stock -- $485 million The railroad will begin replacement of 140 M3 electric cars. New electric cars are expected to improve mechanical reliability of the fleet, mitigating up to 27 percent of delays 

West of Hudson Improvements -- $187 million The railroad will pursue the phased construction of core infrastructure needed to allow reverse-peak and better off-peak service, including state-of-good-repair needs, and support the potential future increase in daily service of up to 60 percent. 

Harlem Line Capacity Improvements -- $184 million The plan would progress infrastructure work to improve reliability and support a future third track on the Harlem Line, including building two new electrical substations, designing three more, and relocating and expanding parking at Southeast Station to allow for future Brewster Yard expansion. 

MTA Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) -- $3.3 billion The proposed program enables construction of the infrastructure needed for central business district tolling and brings safety and traffic flow improvements to the MTA’s crossings [Note TBTA spending is not subject to CPRB approval and is not included the $51.5 billion CPRB total above]. 

“This capital plan continues TBTA’s renewal, reconstruction and maintenance of major infrastructure to ensure that vital links in the regional transportation network are modernized and adapted to the needs of our customers,” said MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Daniel DeCrescenzo. “The plan is integrated with other regional transportation programs to build upon the transformative changes and benefits of cashless tolling, and the continuous Bus/HOV lane connecting Staten Island to the Gowanus/Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) Bus/HOV lane implemented in the 2015-2019 capital plan.” 

Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge Upgrades -- $1.1 billion The MTA will rebuild Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge approach ramps; the non-standard left-hand exits will be modernized and reconfigured to right-hand exits. These projects are expected to reduce annual collisions by up to 25 percent. The plan funds the widening of two miles of the eastbound Belt Parkway. 

RFK Bridge Upgrades -- $719 million The MTA will rebuild the Randall’s Island access ramps, and design a widening of the southbound FDR Drive between 125th Street and 116th Street and a new access ramp from the Bruckner Expressway to the RFK Bridge. The completed projects will save the 170,000 daily customers 400,000 hours in travel time annually. 

Throgs Neck Bridge Marine Protection -- $144 million New fender systems at the Throgs Neck Bridge’s two towers would protect the bridge from accidental collisions from marine traffic. 

Henry Hudson Bridge Reconstruction -- $135 million Continuing reconstruction of the Henry Hudson Bridge, in combination with the implementation of open road tolling, is expected to reduce potential collisions by up to 41 percent and save 73,000 daily customers up to 100,000 hours in annual travel time. 

Tunnel Ventilation -- $58 million The plan would allow for the rehabilitation of ventilation/service buildings at the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, and the design of water mist/fire suppression systems installation, improving safety for the more than 137,000 daily weekday customers. 

Paying for the Plan 

The single largest source of funds for the plan – $25 billion – comes from bonds backed by new revenue streams authorized in this year’s state budget, including $15 billion from central business district tolling that was passed by the legislature and signed into law in April by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as part of the state’s FY 2020 budget. The MTA anticipates receiving $10.68 billion from federal funding programs. Another $10 billion will come from bonds backed by newly established revenue sources dedicated to public transportation: a progressive tax on high-end real estate sales and the elimination of the internet tax advantage. The state of New York under Governor Cuomo has pledged $3 billion, subject to approval by the legislature, and the city of New York under Mayor Bill de Blasio 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 longstanding dedicated taxes, fares and revenues from existing tolling. 

Transparency and Next Steps 

Priorities have been set with input from elected officials from throughout the region. The details of the projects including the proposed capital program are available here. 

The proposed plan will be reviewed by the MTA Board at its meeting on Sept. 25 and, if approved, would be submitted by Oct. 1 to the MTA Capital Program Review Board for consideration and approval. The review board is composed of representatives from the governor, the New York State Senate and Assembly, and the mayor of New York City.