New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) detailed an update to the authority’s 2020-24 Capital Program that adjusts mass transportation needs for a post-COVID world. In a presentation to the MTA Board’s Capital Program Committee, MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer put forward a proposed capital program amendment that allows the MTA to move projects along at a faster pace, offers support for megaproject expansions, and rebalances priorities while accounting for the pandemic’s impact on external factors such as inflation, supply chain, and labor market issues.
The proposed amendment builds on the accelerated pace at which the MTA has completed projects during the pandemic, when it took advantage of low ridership to complete accessibility and signal modernization projects. Among the projects included are acceleration of accessibility upgrades at eight LIRR stations; modernization of the signal system on the A, C, and F lines in Brooklyn and Manhattan; Track Trespassing initiatives including the Platform Screen Doors pilot, cameras, and other technologies; bike and pedestrian accessibility at bridge and tunnel crossings; and renewal of Metro-North Railroad’s viaduct along Park Avenue in East Harlem.
“This capital program was already the most ambitious in the agency’s history, and COVID has only highlighted its importance,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “Since the onset of COVID, we ramped up the speed of construction, including accelerating $2.3 billion of work. We also adopted new strategies to complete projects faster and efficiently — utilizing design-build contracts, holding contractors accountable and providing them with smart financial incentives, and leveraging private partnerships — which we will now use on a larger scale on projects that will help close the gap on transit equity across the region.”
Implementation of the program resumed following a pause at the start of the pandemic. In 2021, the authority initiated over $8 billion in projects, with another $8 billion set for 2022. The MTA has been able to contain costs in the early stages of the program, with the median contract for projects coming in 8% lower than expected cost. In 2020 and 2021 the MTA completed accessibility projects at the fastest pace in agency history, with 23 subway stations brought online in the two-year span. The authority also made progress on its signal modernization efforts with the installation of Communications Based Train Controlled (CBTC) signaling on the Queens Boulevard E, F, M, and R lines.
Looking forward, elements of the proposed 2020-24 Capital Plan amendment include:
- Adapting to Changing Conditions and Needs - Prioritizing Reliability and Equity in Signal Modernization
- New Projects and Acceleration - Track Trespassing Initiatives
- Enhancing Micromobility
- Accessibility Upgrade at LIRR Stations
- Expansion Projects