WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES NOVEMBER 25, 2021 13
How the MTA plans to invest new federal funding
BY JANNO LIEBER
Christmas came early for the MTA
this year when Congress passed
the long-awaited bipartisan infrastructure
bill on Nov. 5. Thanks to
the leadership of our hometown hero
Senator Chuck Schumer, New York state
is looking forward to $10 billion or more
in new money for mass transit.
This funding will be used for longterm
improvements and upgrades for
the subway, bus and commuter rail
systems, including 2020-2024 Capital
Program highlights like new subway
signals, more electric buses and accessibility
projects at dozens of stations.
We’re fi rmly focused on the future and
how we can improve public transportation
coming out of the pandemic. Aft er
all, the MTA is the economic engine that
powers the regional recovery.
Governor Hochul set the tone that we
need to think big with her revised proposal
for Penn Station. Her plan calls for
transforming the deservedly maligned
station from the dilapidated dungeon we
know today into a world-class transit hub,
in large part by removing most of the
upper level to create Moynihan Train
Hall and Grand Central-sized passenger
circulation and ceiling heights — and
also to allow natural light into the station
for the fi rst in 60 years. The governor
has also made it clear she wants to get it
done much, much faster than previously
Some critics have complained that
the governor’s plan fails to increase
rail capacity, but I don’t see that as valid.
We defi nitely need to add new tracks
and platforms at Penn. That is part of
the Gateway Project and New York has
already committed billions for new
Hudson River Tunnels. But Amtrak’s
plan calls for the new tunnels to be done
in 2035. In the meantime, why should
riders be forced to use a station that the
New York Times has described as “one of
the most claustrophobic, confusing and
spirit-throttling spaces in the city?” The
answer is simple: they shouldn’t.
We have a rare window of opportunity
now to build on momentum that
started with the opening of the East End
Gateway last year at 33rd Street and
Seventh Avenue and the ongoing work
to the LIRR Concourse in Penn Station.
Moynihan Train Hall is open and serving
virtually all Amtrak customers. East
Side Access is getting closer to completion,
which will shift a large portion of
LIRR riders to Grand Central. And work
is about to begin on Penn Station Access,
the transformative megaproject that will
build four new Metro-North stations in
the East Bronx and bring Metro-North
trains into Penn Station for the fi rst time.
If we time it right, we could have a
brand-new Penn toward the end of the
decade, just in time for Metro-North
service to begin. There’s no time to waste.
Let’s get to work.
Janno Lieber is acting chair and chief
executive offi cer of the MTA.
UBS ARENA READY FOR ACTION
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