Last week's news that the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority completed construction of three fully ADA accessible elevators to the New York City Transit 59 St. N, R station in Brooklyn along with improved security and fire systems is great news. It will benefit thousands of N and R NYC Transit subway riders from Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and other adjacent neighborhoods.
Instead of the usual cry of insufficient financial resources, shortfalls, here are two ways the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority can obtain financial support to pay for bringing more of the 472 NYC Transit subway stations into compliance with the Americans With Disability (ADA) Act. The MTA receives $1.4 billion in annual assistance from various Federal Transit Administration grant funding programs. In 2021, this will grow to $1.5 billion. I had the privilege of working with the NY MTA and NYC Transit in the development, review, approval and subsequent oversight of federal grant funding which financed construction of numerous ADA subway station improvements while working for the Federal Transit Administration. They all turned out to be a great investment of your tax dollars.
Why not ask any major business, college or hospital who benefit from NYC Transit subway stations adjacent to their facility to sponsor installation of or upgrades to existing elevator(s). Let them split the cost 50 percent with the MTA NYC Transit in exchange for naming rights to the elevator(s). The MTA needs to make some difficult decisions as to what other projects and programs may have to be canceled or reduced in the $51 billion MTA 2020 - 2024 Five Year Capital Plan which is no longer financially viable. This is necessary to find funding for installation of ADA compliant elevators at more subway stations in Brooklyn along with the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and at Staten Island Railway stations in Staten Island.
Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the 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 Railroad, MTA Bus, NYC DOT, NJ Transit, along with 30 other transit agencies in New York and New Jersey.