Latest Milestone Reached to Bring Metro-North Service to the East Bronx
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that the environmental review process for the Metro-North Penn Station Access Project is complete. The milestone makes four new stations in the Bronx as well as direct Metro-North service to Penn Station from the Bronx, Westchester, and Connecticut a step closer to reality.
"This is an important milestone for a project that will give people in several transit -deprived areas of the East Bronx with access to jobs, education, health care and everything New York and Connecticut have to offer,” said Acting MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “By making use of existing infrastructure, we are connecting people to these opportunities at a fraction of the cost it would take to build a new rail line. The next step is to award a contract to one team that will manage both the design and construction in a coordinated way to deliver the project on time and on budget.”
“This project will be game-changing for Metro-North,” said Catherine Rinaldi, President of MTA Metro-North Railroad. “In essentially one bold stroke it will allow the railroad to dramatically reduce travel times for a transit desert with a vast population of hundreds of thousands of people, and it will allow our busiest line to have a second destination in midtown Manhattan. We are already looking forward to opening day.”
“Today is a great day for the future of mass transit access in the South and East Bronx and the Westchester Sound communities,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer. “The FTA has completed its environmental review of the Penn Access project, a critical step for MTA to advance to construction of the project connecting Metro-North with Penn Station, including new mass transit stops in the South and East Bronx – and direct connection to Penn Station for parts of Westchester. I will continue to advocate for advancing this project and will push for federal grants key to its completion.”
“As New Yorkers get back to work and we rebuild our economy, we must expand critical access to safe and affordable public transportation for everyone,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I am pleased to see this project move forward—it puts us one step closer to reducing travel times for countless Bronxites who rely on Metro-North to get where they need to go.”
"The Penn Station Access project receiving FONSI is a huge win for transit equity," said Representative Ritchie Torres. "With a FONSI, the project will be able to move forward to provide South Bronx residents with much needed transit services to essential business districts in the Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and Connecticut. I am encouraged by this important step toward ensuring equal access to mass transit."
“This milestone represents a critical step towards delivering new transit options that will create much-needed and overdue opportunities for residents in the East Bronx,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “To these communities, this project is about more than just new train stops. It is about increased access to education, employment and health care. I look forward to seeing the impact this project will have on the local economy when the project is complete.”
“The completion of the environmental review is a great step forward for the Metro-North Penn Station Access Project," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “For nearly a decade, I have been beating the drum on direct access to Penn Station from The Bronx, and now, this form of transportation in The East Bronx is one step closer to becoming a reality."
“The completion of the environmental review for Metro-North Penn Station Access means we are one step closer towards completing a project that will be life changing for Westchester’s residents who live along the Sound Shore and commute to the Bronx or parts of Manhattan for work,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “For the first time ever we will be able to create a one-seat ride into Penn Station, opening up greater access to jobs, education and health care, all while improving the commute and making these communities more desirable to live in. I thank the MTA and for their hard work on this – we cannot wait to see this project come to fruition.”
“Public transportation is essential to the lives and livelihoods of our region’s residents and economy,” said Assemblymember Amy Paulin. “Metro-North’s Penn Station access project will give a significant quality-of-life benefit to commuters north of New York City in that for the first time they will have one-seat access to the West Side of Manhattan, and with significantly less commuting time. It also supports reverse commuters, benefitting our job market and economy. This infrastructure project truly ushers in a new era of improved access and customer experience.”
The project will bolster equity, regional connectivity and resiliency by delivering a new transit option for residents and workers in the East Bronx with four new fully accessible Metro-North stations, at Co-Op City, Parkchester, Morris Park and Hunts Point. The advent of train service to these stations will support the local economy and attract regional talent by increasing accessibility to underserved neighborhoods, cutting commutes, and introducing reverse commuting opportunities.
The project will use Amtrak’s existing Hell Gate Line to access Penn Station, maximizing the potential of existing infrastructure, while minimizing impacts on the surrounding community. It will bring the Hell Gate Line into a state of good repair and improve resiliency and on-time performance for Amtrak passengers. The project also calls for the construction of new electrical substations, additional tracks within the existing line, work to renew bridges and upgrades to Metro-North’s New Rochelle Yard.
The Environmental Assessment and Section 4(f) Evaluation were released on May 18, 2021 for public and agency comment. And on Sept. 24, 2021, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a formal Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), marking the conclusion of the environmental review. The MTA has published a summary of comments and responses received during the public comment period.
Procurement is underway to award a design-build contract to construct this transformative project which will dramatically reduce travel times for people traveling to or from the East Bronx.
To read the FONSI and response-to-comments document, and learn more about the Penn Station Access Project, visit www.pennstationaccess.info.