The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced on Sept. 27 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.”
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 Environmental Assessment and Section 4(f) Evaluation were released on May 18, for public and agency comment. And on Sept. 24, 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.
“The Penn Station Access project receiving FONSI is a huge win for transit equity,” said U.S. Rep. 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.”
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.
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.