Senator Schumer, Congressman Torres and Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez Join Governor and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to Commence Construction
Largest Expansion of Metro-North Railroad Will Bring Train Service Within One Mile of 500,000 Residents and Dramatically Cut Travel Times
Provide Metro-North Service to Penn Station via New Haven Line, Connecting Manhattan, East Bronx, Westchester and Connecticut
New Rail Service Will Save Residents 50 Minutes a Day in Commute Times to Manhattan and Open Reverse Commute Opportunities
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the groundbreaking for the Metro-North Penn Station Access project alongside leaders from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority during a ceremony in the Bronx this morning. With four new stations in the Bronx, this project will bring rail service within one mile of 500,000 residents and will be the largest expansion of Metro-North Railroad since it was founded in 1983. By offering rail service to and from Manhattan, Westchester and Connecticut, this will expand access to jobs, education and entertainment for East Bronx communities. Additionally, the project will greatly reduce travel times, provide reverse commuting opportunities and offer a critical second route into Manhattan for the first time ever through Metro-North.
“We are bringing modern, safe, and reliable public transportation to East Bronx communities and with it, more economic opportunity for New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said. “In partnership with Senator Schumer, Representatives Torres, Ocasio-Cortez, and Bowman, and Amtrak, Penn Station Access will not only drastically reduce commute times, but it will also help connect hundreds of thousands of residents and boost local economies. I’m thankful for MTA’s partnership to get this project off the ground, and I look forward to seeing the completed project to help ensure all New Yorkers have access to the modern public transportation that they deserve.”
The four new stations will be in Hunts Point, Parkchester/Van Nest, Morris Park, and Co-Op City and will be accessible to all in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The expansion will use Amtrak’s Hell Gate Line to access Penn Station, optimizing existing infrastructure and minimizing the construction impact on surrounding communities. Metro-North trains stopping at the four new Bronx stations will serve as an extension of the New Haven Line from the New Rochelle Station, offering transit options in the East Bronx to Midtown Manhattan as well as points in Westchester, Connecticut and inversely.
MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, “Penn Station Access is a game changer for a huge and transit-deprived swath of the Bronx. 500,000 residents live within just a mile of the four new Metro-North stations, and many more when you look at the entire service area. This project means dramatically shorter commutes and life-changing access to jobs, education, health care and everything else New York has to offer.”
Metro-North Railroad President and Long Island Rail Road Interim President Catherine Rinaldi said, “Grand Central Madison is bringing the LIRR, Metro-North, and the subway under one roof for the first time. Bringing Metro-North service to Penn Station will connect the subway, LIRR, NJ Transit, PATH, and Amtrak, offering regional connections unlike anywhere else in the country. The completion of all transportation projects underway will redefine what transit looks like in the Tri-state area and provide essential transportation to communities with limited options. Today, we celebrate a milestone that brings us closer to that reality.”
MTA President of Construction and Development Jamie Torres-Springer said, “Penn Station Access will provide transformative benefits to the East Bronx and the entire New York region. Taking full advantage of existing infrastructure and applying our best practices from successful projects like LIRR Third Track, MTA Construction & Development will deliver this project better, faster, and cheaper.”
The infrastructure improvements along the Hell Gate Line will also improve service reliability and on-time performance for Amtrak, who is contributing $500 million toward the project, thanks to the efforts of Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer. Amtrak has also agreed to pay the costs of delay if they fail to meet commitments to provide outages or workforce. The total cost of the project is projected at $3.18 billion, following a Capital Plan amendment announced in July to include additional funding for expansion of the New Rochelle Yard.
Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia said, “The Penn Station Access project aligns with Amtrak’s vision of expanding passenger rail service with new or improved routes in currently underserved areas. By connecting communities, trains help provide access to jobs and economic mobility that combats inequality. We congratulate Governor Hochul and our partners at MTA for reaching this milestone, and thank Senator Schumer, Congressman Torres and our partners in Congress for their leadership in moving this important project forward.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “For far too long, the East and South Bronx has been a transit desert. That’s why I have fought so hard to advance this vital project — first, by bringing together Amtrak and the MTA to hash out the details of their partnership; and second, by delivering tens of billions of dollars via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will pay for four new Metro-North stations in the East and South Bronx. Transit development equals community development, and as we continue to rebuild our economy coming out of the pandemic, we must do everything we can to make sure it is an equitable recovery through projects like Penn Station Access. With today’s groundbreaking, New York is building the next generation of our public transit system that will keep our city growing, keep attracting new people and businesses, and keep pulsing with the energy that makes this place so special.”
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, “Our neighbors in The Bronx could see their commute times decrease by over an hour as a result of the Penn Station Access Project. I’ve long advocated for investing in public transportation, and it’s especially meaningful to see the positive impact it will have on working-class communities in our district.”
Representative Jamaal Bowman said, “My Bronx and Westchester constituents have needed transit justice for a very long time. The Metro-North Penn Station Access Project helps realize transportation equity for my Bronx and New Rochelle constituents. The groundbreaking and future completion of this overdue project is something to look forward to. Long commute times affect our quality of life in a multitude of ways, and the decrease in commute time will open up new opportunities for so many individuals and families. Adding these expansions to Metro-North will also allow more members of our community to choose public transportation over driving and push us towards a green future. I’m proud to support these community changing public transportation projects on the federal level and look forward to continuing to champion future infrastructure investments that make public transit accessible for all.”
Representative Ritchie Torres said, “For too long the Bronx has been neglected when it comes to public transportation. The Penn Access metro expansion project is a step forward in ensuring that the Bronx has adequate Metro access. This expansion not only cuts down on travel time, improves regional connectivity, and it provides for local economic benefits. The Bronx is thriving and not just surviving, and this project is a critical step in ensuring the growth of our community.”
New York State Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “The Metro-North Penn Station Access project is an exciting opportunity to connect our local communities, economies, educational institutions, and much more. I’ve advocated for this project, and I thank my fellow state and federal partners in government for their efforts to bring this expansion to reality. I’m committed to supporting smart infrastructure investments and look forward to the completion of the Metro-North Penn Station Access project.”
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “The expansion of the Metro-North Railroad into several Bronx communities will transform public transportation as we know it. Fast, reliable, and accessible transportation is a necessity in these neighborhoods, often described by many as transit deserts. This expansion is important to residents and neighboring communities, opening a gateway for endless economic and social opportunities. This investment into the Bronx community will have a profound impact.”
State Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, “The expansions announced today by Governor Hochul and the multi-million dollar investment in the Hunts Point, Parkchester/Van Nest, Morris Park, and Co-Op City stations will result in a vast improvement in the quality of life for all of us in the Bronx. This infrastructure investment project will directly improve the lives of thousands of Bronx residents. Not only will we have better facilities, reduced transportation times and better interconnectivity with the rest of the city, but we will also be able to take advantage of this for our businesses and education. I commend the MTA, the Governor’s office and everyone involved in making this happen.”
Assemblymember Amy Paulin said, “Penn Station Access will be a game-changer for residents of the Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and Connecticut. For the first time these communities will have a one-seat ride into Penn Station, saving 50 minutes a day of commuting time. This time savings and the convenience of the 5 new stations opens up greater access to jobs, education and health care. I thank the MTA for their hard work in getting to this day and look forward to our residents experiencing this new era of improved access and customer experience.”
Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz said, “Today’s step forward with Penn Station Access is a wonderful moment for Bronxites. The arrival of Metro-North service to the east Bronx will significantly expand economic opportunities for our borough. Kudos to Governor Hochul and the MTA for continuing to make progress and we all look forward to the completion of this project.”
Assemblymember Michael Benedetto said, “The people of the Bronx and Co-0p City thank Governor Hochul for making our long fought for dream a reality: a Metro-North Station in the Bronx. We are now truly contacted to the larger metropolitan region, our wait is over.”
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “The Penn Station Access project 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, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and raise Westchester home values in the process. Together, all levels of Government have created a real dynamic game-changer for those we were elected to serve.”
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said, “Penn Station Access is the most significant enhancement to our region’s transportation infrastructure in a generation, with wide-ranging benefits to our economy, environment, and quality of life. For New Rochelle, the project holds special importance, giving us the Metro-North station closest to Manhattan with direct service to Grand Central and Penn, and positioning our downtown transit district for unprecedented economic development and sustainable growth.”
Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson said, “The East Bronx has for a long time been at a disadvantage when it comes to transportation access, but these four new Metro-North stations will make it easier for commuters to travel to their destinations and help to eliminate transit deserts in our borough. I want to thank Governor Hochul, Senator Schumer, Congressman Torres, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, Amtrak, Penn Station Access and MTA for pushing this initiative forward and their commitment to transit equity for our East Bronx residents. I look forward to seeing the completion of this project.”
Councilmember Rafael Salamanca said, “Today’s historic groundbreaking event celebrating four new Metro-North stations in the Bronx, including in the Hunts Point section of my district, is a pivotal moment in achieving the transit equity our city and state has sought to accomplish. Not only expanding access to and from Penn Station, these new stations will vastly increase the economic and educational opportunities afforded to Bronxites in Westchester County and Connecticut, areas that weren’t previously accessible via a direct transit route. I thank Governor Hochul, Mayor Adams, city, state and federal partners for their determination to making this project a reality.”
Councilmember Amanda Farías said, “I am excited by the opportunity to employ Bronxites locally and add a new commuting option that is accessible and affordable for my neighbors to help lessen congestion and increase sustainable transit in my district. I look forward to engaging with my community on all the proposed projects and working in coordination with their feedback to ensure the Bronx Metro-North plan meets the needs of the Bronx first and is directly for the benefit of the public.”
Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez said, “The Metro-North expansion will play a critical role in supporting the economy by producing thousands of jobs and providing access to the hidden gems the Bronx offers. As our communities grow, we must build to reflect our thriving neighborhoods. There is often too much red tape hindering crucial investments like this; by utilizing already existing infrastructure, we will overcome those obstacles. And for communities like mine (Morris Park and Parkchester/Van Nest) that are transit deserts, the need for additional transportation options is undeniable. This expansion is an incredible investment, and I am excited to see my community as a part of this initiative.”
President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York Gary LaBarbera said, “Today represents yet another crucial step forward in modernizing and revitalizing our city’s commuter rail network with a project that will create thousands of middle-class careers with benefits for hardworking New Yorker. We applaud Governor Hochul for her steadfast dedication to this project and are grateful for her leadership as this key initiative moves forward. Our members look forward to working with stakeholders and our partners across the industry to continue to transform our railways into an exemplary and functional transit system that New Yorkers deserve and can truly take pride in.”
- Significantly cuts down travel time. East Bronx passengers traveling to Penn Station can save up to 50 minutes each way, and those traveling to Connecticut can save up to 75 minutes. As an example, from the proposed Co-Op City station to Penn Station it takes about 75 minutes to reach Penn Station, with completion of Penn Station Access, the travel time is expected to be only about 25 minutes. Current New Haven Line riders with destinations on the west side can save up to 40 minutes per day.
- Increase in reverse commuting opportunities. Reverse commuters will be able to more easily travel from Penn Station to Hunts Point, Parkchester/Van Nest, Morris Park, Co-op City, Westchester and southern Connecticut.
- Local economy benefits and improved sustainability. Improving access to the East Bronx, Westchester and Connecticut will benefit local educational campuses, medical institutions, and retail centers. By greatly reducing travel times, Penn Station Access will make public transit a viable, attractive travel alternative, encouraging drivers to switch to mass transit, reducing traffic congestion and emissions.
- Improved regional connections. With the additional options, Bronx residents and also those coming from the greater New York City area, Westchester, Connecticut, and the Northeast region, will be able to more easily reach destinations throughout the Northeast with connections to NJ Transit, LIRR, PATH, Amtrak, and NYCT subways.
In addition to four new ADA stations, the project will turn the existing 2-track railroad into a largely 4-track railroad, with over 19 miles of new and rehabilitated track work. This expansion to a 4-track railroad will provide service flexibility to support the increase in Metro-North and Amtrak trains expected to operate through the area and allow for workarounds in the event of a service disruption.
The additional service necessitates an expansion of Metro-North’s New Rochelle Yard in Westchester, along with modernization of signal, power and communication infrastructure. This will consist of four new interlockings, five new substations, reconfiguration of the Pelham Bay interlocking and upgrade of two existing substations.
The project also includes rehabilitation work to repair and strengthen the following four bridges to carry additional train traffic: Bronx River Bridge, Eastchester Road Bridge, Bronxdale Avenue Bridge and Pelham Lane Bridge.
In September 2021, the Federal Transit Administration issued a Finding of No Significant Impact, allowing the project to proceed. On December 29, 2021, the MTA awarded the Design-Build contract to the joint venture of Halmar International, LLC and RailWorks.
One of the first project elements to take place will be the construction of the Leggett interlocking, one of the four new interlockings. The Leggett interlocking will be located south of the proposed Hunts Point Station. Construction of actual passenger rail stations is expected to begin 2024. The anticipated completion date for the Penn Station Access Project is 2027.