The MTA has a green light to link transit-starved sections of the Bronx to Penn Station with four new Metro-North stops.
As part of the MTA’s Penn Station access project, the MTA, Empire State Development, and Amtrak struck a deal to build the new stations along an underutilized rail line in Hunts Point, Parkchester/Van Nest, Morris Park, and Co-op City. Transit officials approved a $35 million contract with HNTB New York Engineering and Architecture for the project’s design and development Tuesday morning at the MTA Board’s Metro-North Committee meeting, according to the governor’s office.
“These four stations not only will connect the east Bronx to Manhattan’s West Side, but also build upon our ongoing efforts to fully transform our state’s transportation infrastructure,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
The Empire State Development Corporation will collaborate with the MTA to plan and expedite the project, Cuomo’s office said Tuesday. Additionally, Amtrak and the MTA will study the feasibility of Amtrak using the line to run several daily trains from Long Island to Penn Station—those trains would continue either north to Boston or south to Washington.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. applauded the deal and in a statement called the contract “one step closer to expanded commuter rail options in the communities that need them the most.”
The new service aims to bring Metro-North trains over the Hell Gates Bridge into Queens where the lines will merge with the Long Island Rail Road’s route, roll through the East River Tunnels into Manhattan, and west into Penn Station.
As part of the deal, transit infrastructure along the line will get a facelift including new track, switch, and signal upgrades.
Both the MTA and Amtrak full boards must approve the contract, but transit officials expects to issue a Notice to Proceed to HNTB within the next few weeks—which will kick off the contract. A specific project schedule will be developed during the design phase.
An initial $695 million investment in the plan comes from the MTA’s 2015-2019 Capital Program with $250 million in state funds coming from Empire State Development. But to complete the project, the MTA will need additional money from the 2020-2024 Capital Program.