A plan to transform New York’s transportation network into a more reliable and updated system over the next five years got the final thumbs up needed to become a reality.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this week that the $27 billion 2015-2019 MTA Capital Program — which includes investments to renew, enhance and expand the transit network — received the final approval from the Capital Plan Review Board.
Straphangers can look forward to more buses and subway cars as well as a facelift for dozens of subway stations.
The approval of the plan marks the largest investment in MTA infrastructure in New York State history.
“The MTA is the lifeblood of the New York metropolitan area’s transportation network and we must ensure it has the capacity to meet the travel demands of the next generation and fuel one of the largest economies on the globe,” Cuomo said. “By investing in the most robust transportation plan in state history, we are reimagining the MTA and ensuring a safer, more reliable and more resilient public transportation network for tomorrow.”
The five-year plan — combined with already existing initiatives — will bring more than 2,340 buses and 1,450 subway cars to the MTA network.
Part of the plan includes renovating a total of 31 subway stations throughout the New Your metro area by December 2018 and the MTA is currently looking to approve design-build teams that would start the repairs.
The subway station renovations will include dramatically improving lighting, including more signs to make it easier for commuters to get around stations; offering cellular connectivity and Wi-Fi; and new art.
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Other parts of the plan include building four new Metro-North stations in underserved areas in the Bronx and also bringing Metro-North to Penn Station.
The investments will also help begin the extension of the Second Avenue Subway to East Harlem; continue adding a second track along 18 miles of the Long Island Rail Road between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma; and quicken the plan to create a new fare payment system replacing MetroCards.
“With historic levels of funding through the capital plan, we have the resources and support we need to fulfill the Governor’s mandate to renew, enhance and expand our transportation infrastructure,” said Tom Prendergast, MTA chairman and CEO.