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ICYMI: Governor Hochul Announces MTA to Award Contract for the Metro-North Penn Station Access Project

Metro-North Railroad
Updated December 15, 2021 8:30 p.m.

Project Will Provide Direct Metro-North Service from the Bronx, Westchester and Connecticut to Penn Station and Manhattan's West Side

 

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has approved a design-build contract for the Penn Station Access Project, which will provide direct Metro-North service from the Bronx, Westchester and Connecticut to Penn Station and Manhattan's west side. Penn Station Access will drastically reduce travel times for people who live and work in the East Bronx, an area currently without any rail service. The contract will be awarded to Halmar International, LLC/RailWorks, J.V.

"Metro-North is coming to the east Bronx, and bringing faster commutes with it," said Governor Hochul. "This one project by itself is a big step forward for environmental justice, environmentally sustainable transportation, the Bronx economy and regional interconnectivity, and yet another example of our ongoing efforts to make sure that all New Yorkers have the modernized transportation systems they deserve." 

There are almost 250,000 residents and over 100,000 jobs within a half mile of the four stations, which can have service as frequent as every 20 minutes in the peak period. The new service will save East Bronx riders up to approximately 50 minutes in each direction to Penn Station, and up to 75 minutes in each direction to Connecticut. Current New Haven Line riders with destinations on the west side will save up to 40 minutes per day since travel from Grand Central will not be necessary.

Governor Ned Lamont said, "Improved service on our rail system, with an eye on the future, means a transportation system that works for everyone when it comes to quality of life and economic development for residents and businesses in Connecticut and New York. It means more transit-oriented development, more people out and about, and more opportunities for tens of thousands of people to get to their jobs every day and earn a living. This is the latest joint venture between Connecticut and New York showing how important our relationship is for our residents and the success of the region."

Janno Lieber, MTA Acting Chair and CEO said, "This is a great news for the Bronx and the region. With four new ADA-accessible stations in Co-Op City, Morris Park, Parkchester/Van Nest and Hunts Point, Penn Station Access will deliver access to jobs, education and opportunity for those underserved neighborhoods, cutting commutes to the Manhattan Central Business District, but also introducing reverse commuting opportunities."

Jamie Torres-Springer, President of MTA Construction & Development said, "Projects like Penn Station Access are why the MTA created a new capital agency to use innovative approaches that will get projects built better, faster and cheaper. The single design-build contract makes one entity responsible for all elements of the project under our management, putting this project on the path of the MTA's LIRR Expansion Project, which has kept to budget and to schedule using a similar approach."

Catherine Rinaldi, President of MTA Metro-North Railroad said, "Access to Penn Station is completely transformative for Metro-North and we are excited to begin the service upon completion of the project. This will be the railroad's largest expansion in history - four new stations is no small thing. This gives Metro-North's busiest line a second route into Manhattan for the first time, redundancy that's all the more important as the railroad looks to pursue major capital renewal projects on the route to Grand Central - namely the Park Avenue Viaduct and the Park Avenue Tunnel."

The project also will improve regional transportation connectivity, enhance network resiliency by providing a second Metro-North terminal in Manhattan, promote sustainability and bridge communities. By using Amtrak's existing Hell Gate Line, the project will maximize the potential of existing infrastructure, while minimizing impacts on the community.

It will bring the Hell Gate Line into a state of good repair and improve reliability and on-time performance for intercity passengers and prepare the corridor for high speed rail in the future.  Amtrak will contribute $500 million toward the project, thanks to the efforts of Majority Leader Schumer. Amtrak has also agreed to pay the costs of delay if they fail to meet commitments to provide outages or workforce.

In addition to the four new stations, the project will turn the existing two-track railroad into a largely four-track railroad, with over 19 miles of new and rehabilitated track work. The project also includes four bridge rehabilitations, the reconfiguration of Metro-North's New Rochelle Yard, four new and one reconfigured interlockings, five new and two upgraded substations, and the modernization of signal, power and communication infrastructure.

The current project construction schedule is estimated at 63 months and $2.87 billion. It is estimated the project will create or retain approximately 4,500 direct jobs and another 10,000 indirect jobs.

U.S Senator Chuck Schumer, "This week, I was proud to announce a deal that I brokered between Amtrak and MTA to advance two projects critical to the future of transit in New York: Metro-North Penn Access and the East River Tunnel rehabilitation project. Today, MTA's Board ratified that deal and awarded a contract for construction of Penn Access. This is a watershed moment for transit-starved communities in the East and South Bronx - and the Sound Shore communities of Westchester - as it will connect these communities with quick, reliable, one-seat commuter rail service into Midtown Manhattan and job centers in Westchester and Connecticut. I applaud the MTA Board for awarding the contract and look forward to continuing to push both projects as priorities for USDOT grants."

Representative Jamaal Bowman said, "Transportation issues in my district impact the daily lives of my constituents. The Penn Station Access Project which includes expansion for Metro-North rail lines in the Bronx and Westchester including at New Rochelle Yard is critical," said Congressman Jamaal Bowman (NY-16). "This project has been an empty promise to our state and my district for too long. Today, I am honored to join Governor Hochul, Senator Schumer, Mayor Noam Bramson and Mayor de Blasio along with my colleagues throughout New York to continue and support this project in addition to creating transit justice and equity by championing further infrastructure investments on the federal level."

Representative Ritchie Torres said, "Our city and our borough is long due for an overhaul of its mass transit systems. This contract will finally ensure that the Bronx has increased access to the rest of the City and Westchester with four new Metro North stations that will reduce commute times and increase mobility. This historic investment will give historically underserved communities and working families access to jobs, educational opportunities and more. Bronx residents deserve reliable mass transit that is both accessible and equitable for all commuters."

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "The MTA and Amtrak's critical deal for rail development throughout the northern suburbs of Manhattan will finally bring greater connectivity, reliability and convenience to our commuters. I have continuously advocated for the improvement of our rail systems, and am thrilled to see this project come to light. New Yorkers deserve state of the art transit, especially as we all begin returning to the office. The $30 billion allocated from the bipartisan infrastructure bill proves that with the right funding, we can make groundbreaking advancements. I applaud this agreement and Senator Schumer for his advocacy on behalf of our state, and look forward to future development."

Senator Tim Kennedy, Chair of the New York State Senate Transportation Committee, said, "The Penn Station Access project will create jobs, improve service for New Yorkers, and ultimately connect commuters to their destination quicker. Our transportation networks rely on innovative, strategic investments to carry us forward, and this project is a demonstration of the commitment made by New York and the MTA to that broader vision."

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "The Metro-North Penn Access project is incredibly important for communities here in the Bronx that are underserved by public transportation. Building these four new train stations will change people's lives for the better - making it easier for people to get to work, to school and to go about their daily lives. The Assembly Majority has fought to get communities that are underserved access to public transit, including putting $250 million into the state budget for Penn Access. Thank you to Senator Schumer for working with the MTA to make this a reality."

Senator Alessandra Biaggi said, "Metro-North service to the Bronx is an absolute game changer, and a necessary step to building a more accessible borough. Commuters in the Bronx have long been disconnected from other boroughs, and these four new stations will allow us to connect our underserved communities while prioritizing faster commute times, sustainable transportation, and economic development. I am grateful to the MTA for awarding this contract and look forward to collaborating to make further investments in the Bronx."

Assembly Member Michael Benedetto said, "I, along with the entire North East Bronx Community, am excited with this development. It moves us one step closer to having Metro-North service here in the East Bronx and in Co-Op City. This has long an area that has needed greater transit options to promote economic growth and transit equity overall. I applaud the MTA for taking this monumental step and look forward to working with them to make this project a reality."

Bronx Borough President Diaz Jr. said, "This is welcoming news and a tremendous step forward for the residents of The Bronx. For about a decade, I have been beating the drum on direct access to Penn Station from The Bronx, and now, this game-changing project is even closer to becoming a reality. Penn Station Access will help countless Bronxites with more efficient commutes, which will also open up job possibilities, while reducing congestion on our roads. I want to thank Janno Lieber, MTA Acting Chair and CEO and the entire MTA team for moving this project forward."

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, "This vital step in the Penn Station Access project's timeline is a win for Westchester's residents who live along the Sound Shore. The creation a one-seat ride into Penn Station, opening up greater access to jobs, education and health care for the first time ever, will improve commutes and raise Westchester home values in the process. I am appreciative of the efforts of MTA and all stakeholders on this project  and we cannot wait to see it come to fruition."

Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson said, "The East Bronx has for a long time been at a disadvantage when it comes to transportation access, but this new plan put forth by the MTA and funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will help reduce the transit divide in our borough. The Metro-North expansion in the Bronx will also be a game changer with economic development opportunities and infrastructure investments that are sorely needed as we attempt to recover from the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on our borough. I want to thank MTA, Majority Leader Charles Schumer, the New York Congressional Delegation, and all of our transit advocates for their support of this initiative and transit equity for all New Yorkers."

Council Member Kevin Riley said, "The MTA moving forward with the Penn Station Access Project is huge for the Bronx., especially in my district, which has limited access commuting to and from Penn Station, Westchester, and Connecticut. This opens opportunities for equitable transportation, employment possibilities, and economic expansion for my community. The Penn Station Access Project plans to drastically shorten constituents' commutes adding to their quality of life. Thank you Senator Schumer and the MTA for your important roles in pushing this project that will bring ease to Bronx families allowing them to better support their families and possibly spend a little more time together."