SCHUMER ANNOUNCES TRANSIT SUPERCHARGE FOR CRITICAL NYC/BRONX/LONG ISLAND PROJECTS; PENN ACCESS, CREATING ONE-SEAT RIDE TO PENN & 4 NEW BX STATIONS, WILL BE FAST-TRACKED & LIRR EAST RIVER TUNNELS , WILL GET REHABED FOR SAFE COMMUTE; UNDER SCHUMER DEAL, AMTRAK WILL ALSO COMMIT ADDITIONAL $500 MILLION TO PENN ACCESS IN EXCHANGE FOR MTA’S $432 MILLION FOR EAST RIVER TUNNELS
Schumer Led Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Package Through Senate To Create A Record $30B Account NY Transit Projects Will Now Tap; Will Allow Fast-Track and Resources for Penn Access & East River Tunnels (ERT); Previous ‘Clash’ Over $432 Million For ERT Now Solved As Badly-Damaged Sandy Tunnels Poised For Work
Meanwhile, Penn Access Supercharging Will Create One-Seat Train Ride For East, South Bronx & Westchester to Penn, 4 NEW Bronx Stations; Reduced Travel Time, Access To Major Job Market & Overall Convenience Will Help Drive Transportation Relief For Countless NY Commuters
Schumer: A Transit Supercharge Is Coming To NYC, The Bronx, Westchester & LI – And It Means Billions In Investment Along With Jobs
Announcing a ‘transit supercharge’ for two critical New York City, Bronx, Westchester and Long Island transportation projects --Penn Access and the East River Tunnels— U.S. Senator Charles Schumer detailed the deal he just brokered between the MTA and Amtrak to make substantial breakthroughs and progress on both projects.
Schumer said that because the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Bill passed the Senate, he was able to leverage new funding for Penn Access and the LIRR’s East River Tunnels (ERT). Schumer negotiated the deal between Amtrak and the MTA to advance both Penn Access, and its new rail line for transit-needy South and East Bronx, and the East River Tunnel rehab work, which is so vital to the hundreds of thousands of LIRR commuters.
“Critical New York City, Bronx and Long Island transit projects are getting supercharged today,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Today’s agreement with Amtrak and the MTA will fast-track Penn Access, bringing a new mass transit line to the transit-starved Bronx, totaling four new stations. In addition, the agreement will break the logjam stalling the urgent need to repair and upgrade the Sandy-damaged East River Tunnels, which are vital to LIRR riders. Under the deal I brokered, which was made possible by the historic rail finding we delivered in the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Law, Amtrak will commit a huge, $500 million investment to the Penn Access new Metro North line in the Bronx. And the MTA will commit up to a massive $432 million in rehabbing the East River Tunnels, which were badly-damaged during Sandy and have been a priority project for me and for the hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders who depend on them every single day.”
“So, we have two critical projects: Penn Access, for the people of the Bronx and Westchester, and the East River Tunnels, for the people of Long Island, that will get fast-tracked, supercharged and move Forward with historic investment, and that is something to celebrate,” Schumer added.
Schumer said, the longtime ‘clash’ over the ERT’s $432M is now solved. Schumer further revealed that there is now a $30 billion dollar in federal rail funding for the Northeast, which he secured in the Bipartisan Infrastructure law, that both projects can tap to get their work complete, and said he will push for both of these projects to receive maximum federal rail grants from programs funded in the Bipartisan Infrastructure law. In terms of the two projects, Schumer detailed their timelines and construction specifics as he officially declared these two important projects ‘supercharged.’
Schumer has long advocated for both the Metro-North Penn Access project and for repairing the East River Tunnels, which were badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy flooding. The former is an MTA-led project while the latter is being spearheaded by Amtrak. In detailing the $30 billion federal funds now available to New York, Schumer said the $6 billion he secured in the BIF for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor account plus the $24 billion in FRA Federal-State Partnership Northeast Corridor grants, unlocked the ability for both agencies to pursue both projects—but only if they could come to an agreement.
Schumer said an agreement was needed because Amtrak is the owner of the East River Tunnels and the stretch of track Metro-North seeks to use for Penn Access, but MTA LIRR is a significant user of the East River Tunnels and MTA Metro-North is the sponsor and lead on the Penn Access project.
“Like the transit system itself, this was all a little complicated, but also clear in terms of what needed to be done, so I signaled green-lights all the way in my negotiations, because we had to get going and act on both projects,” Schumer said of his sit downs with both Amtrak and the MTA.
When it comes specifically to Penn Access, Schumer added, “I have long supported the effort to expand transit access to the people of the East and South Bronx, as well as southern Westchester, by establishing new Metro North stops along the existing Amtrak line. I stood in Co-Op City with local leaders and called on Amtrak and Metro-North to come to the negotiating table and hammer out the framework for this urgently-needed project, and since then I have secured more billions in federal funding for the MTA to continue their capital projects in spite of the COVID pandemic drop in ridership. But now, we have even more funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and we will use them here and now to prioritize projects like Penn Station Access that increase racial and socioeconomic equity in our transit system.”
As part of his deal, Schumer got Amtrak to commit $500 million for the Penn Access project, and, in turn, the MTA committed up to $432 million for the East River Tunnel (ERT) project, which is the exact amount that has been in contention since at least October of 2019, according to Newsday. With these commitments secured by Schumer both projects can now advance.
Schumer said, with Amtrak’s commitment, the MTA board will now be in a position to award a contract for construction of Penn Access imminently. And with MTA’s commitment on ERT, Schumer said the framework now exists for Amtrak to advance an application to FRA to apply for $24 billon pot of funds to repair the East River Tunnels. The ERT agreement means that if the ERT project is awarded an 80% federal share from the FRA grant program, MTA and NJT will cover the rest of the local share. Both Penn Access and ERT will pursue FRA Federal-State Partnership grants to reduce the local and Amtrak shares and Schumer is extremely confident they will be awarded federal funds.
SCHUMER’S PROJECT DETAILS:
Metro-North Penn Access - $2.867 billion project expected to finish 2027
This project will expand Amtrak’s Hell Gate Line from two tracks to four in the East Bronx and Westchester. This will allow New Haven Line trains which currently serve Westchester County and Connecticut communities and terminate at Grand Central Terminal, to instead run through the East and South Bronx to Penn Station. Additionally, the project will build four new Metro-North stations in the Bronx, namely stations at: Co-Op City, Morris Park, Parkchester/Van Nest, and Hunts Point, all communities that are currently underserved by mass transit.
East River Tunnel Rehab - $1.3 billion project expected to finish 2027
The East River Tunnels are over 110 years old. They’re critical to LIRR, Amtrak, and NJ Transit operations through Penn Station—the busiest train station in North America. The tunnels were badly damaged by salt water corrosion after Hurricane Sandy, and its electrical and structural infrastructure needs to be replaced and updated to keep the tunnels functional for the millions of passengers who will rely on the tunnels through this century.
Schumer said the East River Tunnels are a critical part of the transportation system across Long Island and in the New York metro area, carrying more than 300,000 passengers daily. Despite being maintained and operated by Amtrak, the four single track tunnels are a shared regional asset and provide invaluable service to both the railroad and major regional transit agencies. Superstorm Sandy badly damaged the East River Tunnels with approximately 14 million gallons of floodwaters. According to Amtrak reports, corrosive salts and chlorides from the storm continue to impact the tunnels' underground structures. Over time, delays and breakdowns involving the East River Tunnels have increased and Schumer said that this problem will undoubtedly get worse if repairs are not made.
“The East River Tunnels are the most important link in the commute of hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders and a problem in one tunnel---like we have seen in the past—creates a nightmarish domino effect for the entire LIRR system, and that’s not acceptable, and now it will be addressed,” Schumer added.
"Our city and our borough is long due for an overhaul of its mass transit systems. The agreement made possible by Leader Schumer will finally ensure the Bronx has increased access to the rest of New York City and Westchester with four new Metro North stations. This historic investment will bring working and historically underserved families shorter commute times as well as much needed access to jobs, healthcare, and education. New Yorkers deserve reliable mass transit and I look forward to working with Leader Schumer to ensure our city's transit system is both accessible and equitable for all commuters," said Rep. Torres.
“This deal to advance Metro-North Penn Access and expand rail lines in the Bronx, such as in Co-op City, is critical,” said Congressman Jamaal Bowman (NY-16). “We need transit justice and funding for these projects brings us one step closer to achieving that. I am honored to join Senator Chuck Schumer in working to bring more commuter options to the Bronx connecting through Penn station. I will also work to further support this project as needed in Congress so that we can create more cleaner, convenient options for constituents in the Bronx, including working to ensure working class commuters aren’t burdened with the high cost of access to transit options.”
"New York can't fully recover from the pandemic without our transit agencies effectively and efficiently moving millions of people around the region each day," Governor Hochul said. "Today's announcement is a critical step forward as we work to transform New York's transportation system into a model for the 21st century, and I want to thank Senate Majority Leader Schumer for his leadership and partnership to advance these important infrastructure priorities."?
“We are fortunate to have Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer fighting to deliver a ‘transit supercharge’ for Penn Access and the East River Tunnels. I’ve been a strong supporter of the need for greater connectivity between Westchester and the East Side. This will have a positive impact on workers and commuters in Westchester, especially as more people return to the office. I also stand strongly with Senator Schumer in advocating for these projects to receive the maximum federal rail grants available as part of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure bill that he delivered for New Yorkers,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said.
“The Metro-North Penn Access project is incredibly important for communities here in the Bronx that are underserved by public transportation,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said. “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 Schumer has secured an astonishing $500 million investment from Amtrak for Penn Access to address the transit deserts in the East and South Bronx,” said Assemblymember Karines Reyes. “The supercharged Metro North expansion, set to finish in 2027, will bring four new stations to the Bronx, expanding access to downtown and Westchester County. This rollout not only confronts the socioeconomic inequality that Bronxites face, but also tackles climate concerns with new mass transit alternatives to driving.”
“Many of my Bronx constituents rely heavily on public transportation for their daily commutes,” said Assemblymember Kenny Burgos. “Unfortunately, lack of transit options have made it difficult for everyday Bronxites. Fast-tracking Penn Access will transform the Bronx and make the lives of its residents much easier. I applaud Senator Schumer for his tireless efforts in ensuring resources that will make public transportation more accessible for our borough.”
“I applaud Senator Schumer’s record efforts in Washington, earmarking roughly $500M to adding critical transit infrastructure in the Bronx, via the new MTA Penn Access line—including stations in my own council district such as Morris Park and Van Nest/Parkchester,” said NYC Councilmember Mark Gjonaj. “Direct lines to Penn Station will afford a wealth of new work and recreational opportunities to Bronxites, many of whom feel they have too few transit options available. The more mobile we can make our constituency, the more prosperous they can become.”
“The Bronx has long been at a disadvantage when it comes to transportation access, but with the new funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that was passed in the US Senate, riders in Co-Op City, Morris Park, Parkchester/Van Nest and Hunts Point will now have an alternative to driving to get to their destination,” said Council Member & BP-Elect Vanessa L. Gibson. The Metro North expansion in the Bronx will also be a game changer with economic development opportunities and infrastructure investments that are sorely needed in our borough as we attempt to recover from the devastating impact COVID-19 had on our borough. I want to thank our Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the entire New York Delegation for their commitment to fighting for transportation equity for all New Yorkers and I look forward to seeing this important project come to fruition as the next Bronx Borough President.”
“Today’s announcement from Senator Schumer’s office in partnership with Amtrak and the MTA is great news for the people of the Bronx and District 13,” said NYC Councilmember-Elect Marjorie Velasquez. The Metro-North expansion will not only be a great first step in providing our community with increased transportation access, but a much needed influx of jobs and other investment. My profound thanks to Senator Schumer and everyone involved for advocating on behalf of the people of New York in securing this investment. The Bronx is Building Back Better.”
Gerard Bringmann, chair of the LIRR Commuter Council and MTA Board member said, "The East River Tunnels provide a critical connection that allow millions of riders to travel through Queens into Manhattan. Whether they start their journey on the LIRR from Long Island, or will travel on Metro-North on the newly-funded Penn Access from the Bronx, Westchester or points further north, or come in via Amtrak, commuters count on the essential portals to get to midtown Manhattan. Thank you Senator Schumer for always keeping commuters first and helping New York build back better, and stronger."
Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA said, "Thank you Senator Schumer for ensuring that essential East River Tunnel work can progress so that our region's rail system can get riders where they need to go, whether on Amtrak, Metro-North or the LIRR. It's a critical part of our recovery as we build back better. "