The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to spend a whopping $51 billion over the next five years to create a faster, more accessible, and more reliable public transportation system, including $5.7 billion on the LIRR.
During a presentation on Monday, Sept.16, MTA officials unveiled the plan in what Authority Chairman Patrick Foye called a “historic and transformational plan for our customers," and the largest in the agency’s history.
Although the majority of the budget — $40 billion — is earmarked for New York City subways and buses, the LIRR also receives enough funding to enable what officials call a "historic transformation" of the railroad by the planned December 202 opening of the East Side Access and Main Line expansion.
According to the plan, the East Side Access will allow more than 160,000 daily customers to travel to Grand Central Terminal, saving commuters up to 40 minutes per day.
The Main Line Expansion will add a third track on 10 miles of the Main Line corridor, used by 40 percent of LIRR customers. These projects, along with Jamaica Capacity Improvements, will enable a 60 percent increase in reverse commute and a 50 increase in peak service between Manhattan and Long Island, the plan outline says.
“The modernization of the LIRR that has begun in recent years will continue under this program,” said LIRR President Phil Eng. “Not only will it enable us to continue to accelerate our systemwide core improvements to service safety, accessibility, reliability, and comfort, it will enable us to sustain and grow Long Island’s economy and quality of life for the entire region.”
Priority investments in the proposed capital program include track, station improvements, signals and switches, and rolling stock.
One of the major features of the plan is the addition of 160 M-9A new electric cars, expanding the fleet by 13 percent.
The fleet growth will provide at least 25,000 more seats into Grand Central during the morning rush hour.
In addition, the LIRR will purchase nearly 20 coaches and more than 10 locomotives serving the railroad’s non-electrified territory.
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