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New York MTA 2020-24 Capital Program: Big step forward [free access]

October 1, 2019

In September 2019, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board approved the USD51.5 billion investment in the region’s subway, bus and commuter rail system under the 2020-2024 Capital Program. This amount is the highest in the MTA’s history, surpassing the USD29-billion 2015-19 Capital Program.


MTA’s current network

The New York MTA operates the most extensive transportation network in North America. It provides transit services to the New York metropolitan area as well as Long Island, south eastern New York State, and Connecticut.


The MTA, through its operating agencies - MTA New York City Transit, MTA Bus, Long Island Rail Road [LIRR], Metro-North Railroad, and MTA Bridges and Tunnels - provides bus, subway and commuter rail services. The MTA has the largest bus fleet in the United States and has more subway and commuter rail cars than all other US transit agencies combined.


Table 1 provides a snapshot of the MTA and its operations.


Table 1 describes MTA’s current network



No. of subway stations


Total subway track length

1,060 km

No. of subway cars + railcars

6,498 railcars

No. of buses in MTA’s fleet


Subway and bus ridership

1,700 million (in 2018)

Total LIRR track length

955.9 km

No. of LIRR stations


Annual LIRR ridership

89.4 million (2017)

Total Metro-North track length

1,266.5 km

Annual Metro-North ridership

86.6 million (2017)

Total MTA annual ridership

2,659 million (2017)

Notes: LIRR – Long Island Rail Road

Source: MTA 2020-2024 Capital Program, Global Mass Transit Research



2020-2024 Capital Program

The 2020-2024 Capital Program builds on the MTA’s Subway Action Plan and allocates an estimated USD51.5 billion to various transit projects across the region for the next five years. The proposed investment levels mark a 70 per cent increase in infrastructure investment over existing levels.


Almost three quarters of the funding has been allocated for upgrades to the New York City Subway (USD37.3 billion). The remainder has been divided almost equally between the LIRR, Metro-North Railroad, and the bus system.


Figure 1 demonstrates the breakdown of the planned investment.


Figure 1: Breakdown of investment by transit category

Source: MTA 2020-2024 Capital Program


New York City Subway

Of the total funding allocated to the New York City Subway, USD32.75 billion will be allocated to core projects, while USD4.56 billion will be allocated to capacity improvement projects.


Table 2 details the category-wide investment allocation for the subway.


Table 2: Category-wise investments in the NYC Subway



(USD million)


Subway cars


  • Procure 900 A-division cars
  • Procure 1,077 new B-division cars for replacement and expansion of the fleet



  • Install new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant elevators at 70 stations, renewal works at 13 stations on 10 lines
  • Replace over 65 escalators and 78 elevators



  • Install wider fare-gates for all ADA stations and around 32.2 km of continuous welded rail
  • Rehabilitate 96.5 km of mainline tracks

Signals and communication


  • Replace 250 mainline switches and install updates signals on the Fulton, Queens Blvd East, Crosstown, 63rd St., Astoria, and Lexington Avenue lines
  • Install modern signal equipment on 1,077 B-division railcars and upgrade communications equipment across the system

Line structures


  • Repair structural components on various elevated and subway lines
  • Paint elevated structures on lines throughout the system
  • Install protective netting on elevated structures
  • Rehabilitate bridges on up to three lines

Traction power


  • Install new power substations, circuit breaker houses (CBH), contact rail and cables to support modernized signalling
  • Renew up to six existing substations and up to 11 circuit breaker houses (CBH) system-wide

Staten Island Railway


  • Install new elevators/ramps for ADA accessibility as part of the total investment at 70 stations
  • Replace approximately 8 miles of mainline track and approximately 4 mainline switches
  • Enhance various right-of-way facilities

Line equipment


  • Rehabilitate up to 3.2 km of tunnel lighting
  • Rehabilitate up to 6 pump rooms to remove water from the system

Shops and yards


  • Repair and improve key maintenance facilities, replace 3.2 km of yard track and 15 yard switches

Service vehicles


  • Buy heavy-duty rail and road vehicles to better support capital construction needs



  • Repair and upgrade employee facilities, police facilities, and administrative and operations buildings
  • Install fire safety systems and remediate hazardous materials at various facilities
  • Continue work on designs, project scopes, engineering services, and management information systems

Source: MTA 2020-2024 Capital Program


New York City Buses

The bulk of the funding allocated for bus systems will be used to buy over 1,500 new buses. Of these nearly, one-third will be electric. In addition, over 870 buses will be bought for local and express services. A significant amount of money has also been allocated to modernise transit depots.


Table 3 details the category-wide investment allocation for NYC buses.


Table 3: Category-wise investments in NYC Buses



(USD million)


NYC Transit buses


  • Procure 1,548 new buses for local and express services throughout the network
  • New buses will include 475 standard and articulated all-electric buses, accelerating NYCT's transition to a zero-emission fleet

MTA Bus Company buses


  • Procure 874 new buses for local and express services throughout the network
  • New bus purchases will include 25 standard all-electric buses

NYC Transit Depots


  • Reconstruct the Jamaica Depot and modify up to 7 depots to support all-electric buses
  • Make priority repairs and improvements at bus depots and maintenance shops throughout the system
  • Replace bus depot equipment, such as bus washers, lifts, and paint booths.
  • Procure equipment to support automated bus lane enforcement

MTA Bus Company depots


  • Modify first depot to support all-electric buses
  • Make priority repairs at up to 5 depots, targeting structural elements, heating/ventilation, and electrical systems
  • Replace bus depot equipment such as bus lifts

Source: MTA 2020-2024 Capital Program


Long Island Rail Road

The LIRR will receive USD5.7 billion under the plan, of which USD3.7 billion will be allocated to core projects, while USD2 billion will be spent on capacity improvement. Track projects like the installation of concrete ties on 51.4 km of track and station development and rehabilitation will receive the bulk of the funding.


Table 4 details the category-wide investment allocation for the LIRR.


Table 4: Category-wise investments in LIRR



(USD million)


Rolling stock


  • Procure up to 17 coaches and 12 revenue locomotives



  • Install new elevators at up to seven stations to achieve 93% system-wide ADA accessibility
  • Replace up to five elevators and three escalators
  • Platform extensions at up to five stations
  • Station rehabilitation and renewal work at up to 14 stations including Penn Station
  • Replace and add ticketing machines, as well as shelter sheds



  • Install concrete ties on up to 51.4 km of track
  • Contribute to the Amtrak-coordinated state of good repair investments
  • Reconfigure interlockings, make switch and signal improvements, and construct a new closed deck rail bridge – all part of Phase 2 of improving Jamaica capacity

Line structures


  • Replace 10 railroad and highway bridges
  • Undertake structural renovation of the Atlantic Avenue tunnel
  • Advance restoration of navigability of the Dutch Kills by demolishing an unused bridge & designing one bridge rehabilitation

Signals and communication


  • Upgrade existing fibre optic network equipment
  • Modernise signals at various locations
  • Implement and install Centralized Train Control



  • Replace approximately five sub-stations
  • Electrify the Central Branch to improve service reliability and operational flexibility
  • Renew and replace components system-wide

Shops and yards


  • Begin Phase 2 of the new Mid-Suffolk electric train yard in Ronkonkoma, which will accommodate electric fleet growth for EastSide Access
  • Improve and extend track at Port Washington Yard to increase branch capacity



  • Upgrade security equipment and systems at stations, tunnels, substations, facilities, etc.

Source: MTA 2020-2024 Capital Program


Metro-North Railroad

The Metro-North Railroad will receive USD4.7 billion under the plan, of which USD3.6 billion will be allocated to core projects while USD1.1 billion will be allocated to capacity improvement projects. Track projects like Phase I of the replacement of the Park Avenue Viaduct and station rehabilitation projects like the repair work at Grand Central Terminal will receive the bulk of the funding.


Table 5 details the category-wide investment allocation for Metro-North.


Table 5: Category-wise investments in Metro-North



(USD million)


Rolling stock


  • Procure around 80 new electric train cars to begin replacing M-3 EMU fleet
  • Procure up to 30 new locomotives for East of Hudson services



  • Implement station repair works at Grand Central Terminal including the first phase of the train shed replacement programme
  • ADA improvements on various stations in the Harlem and Hudson lines

Track and structures


  • Implement Phase I of the Park Avenue Viaduct replacement
  • Implement West of Hudson capacity expansion



  • Construct two new substations on the Harlem Line
  • Replace two AC traction power substations
  • Replace one mobile substation with a permanent substation
  • Electrify select segments of Track 1 on the Hudson Line

Signals and communication


  • Upgrade Harmon to Poughkeepsie signal system on the Hudson Line
  • Replace and upgrade communications infrastructure

Shops and yards


  • Plan New Haven Line yard improvements for existing New Haven Line service



  • Advance and support programme development and administration
  • Implement system-wide security initiatives

Source: MTA 2020-2024 Capital Program


Bridges and tunnels

Bridge and tunnel projects are expected to receive USD3.3 billion. Table 6 details the category-wide investment allocation for these projects.


Table 6: Key bridge and tunnel projects included in the capital plan



(USD million)






  • Reconstruction of upper level approach, Phase 2
  • Steel repair and concrete rehabilitation

Robert F.




  • Ward’s Island/Queens anchorage rehabilitation, deck rehabilitation and overlay

Throgs Neck Bridge


  • Implement structural rehabilitation, anchorage and tower protection

Henry Hudson Bridge


  • Dyckman St. Bridge abutment replacements and substation upgrades

Source: MTA 2020-2024 Capital Program


Network expansion plans

The capital plan proposes an allocation of USD7.798 billion for various system expansion and capacity improvement projects. Some of the MTA’s biggest projects include:



Technology initiatives

In addition to system expansion and capacity improvement, the MTA is upgrading technology to enhance the transit experience for commuters. Key technology initiatives being undertaken include:



Funding the plan

A total of USD51.472 billion has been earmarked for various projects within the 2020-2024 Capital Program. Funds from Central Business District Tolling sources constitute the largest source.  


Figure 2 depicts the contribution of each revenue source for the plan.


Figure 2: Funding sources for the Capital Plan

Source: MTA 2020-2024 Capital Program


In addition, the MTA has allocated around USD3.327 billion to implement various bridge and tunnel projects. This amount will be raised through self-funded bridge and tunnel bonds.



The MTA’s 2015-2019 Capital Plan previously represented the agency’s largest ever capital investment programme. Many initiatives highlighted in this plan are on schedule to be implemented before the original deadline, including the deployment of PTC on the Metro-North and LIRR and the roll out of a new contactless fare system to replace the MetroCard. Other projects that have been completed include the LIRR Double Track project and Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway project, which commenced passenger operations in January 2017.


Given the scale of the MTA’s transit network and the fact that it’s one of the oldest mass transportation systems in North America, large scale investment in renovation and rehabilitation, as outlined in the latest capital plan, is necessary for the MTA to continue to meet New York’s ever increasing demands for safe, efficient, and reliable public transportation.