MTA Releases Proposed 2020-2024 Capital Plan, Directing Historic Level of Investment to Make System Faster, More Accessible and More Reliable

Hicksville Station - 02-22-19 (Photo by MTA Capital Construction/Trent Reeves)Hicksville Station rehabilitation

The MTA today released the 2020-2024 Capital Plan that proposes investing $51.5 billion into the region’s subways, buses and railroads over the next five years.

Brentwood Station 11-08-18Brentwood Station rehabilitation

The proposed capital plan includes $5.7 billion for the Long Island Rail Road, which will enable its historic transformation by the planned December 2022 opening of East Side Access and the Main Line Expansion Project. The Main Line Expansion Project is adding a third track on 10 miles of the Main Line corridor, used by 40% of LIRR customers. 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; These projects, along with Jamaica Capacity Improvements, will enable a 60% increase in reverse commute and a 50% increase in peak service between Manhattan and Long Island.

Farmingdale Station Rehabilitation.

“The proposed capital program will be truly transformational – more trains, more buses, more service, more accessibility, and more reliability,” said Janno Lieber, MTA Chief Development Officer. “We now have the opportunity to quickly start building the system we need for the future, and through the use of the Design-Build approach it will enable us to deliver those projects faster, better, and cheaper.”

“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.”

East Side Access concrete pour for Queens approach tunnel.

East Side Access Concourse undergoing finishes installation.ESA escalator installation.

Cherry Lane Bridge 06-03-19 Cherry Lane Bridge replacement.
Urban Avenue Graded Crossing Elimination 08-23-19Urban Avenue Graded Crossing Elimination.
South Tyson Bridge - 08-18-19South Tyson Avenue Bridge Modification.

Priority investments in the proposed capital program include track, station improvements, signals and switches, and rolling stock.

  • Track Upgrades – $1 billion: The LIRR will install concrete ties and continuous welded rail to increase durability, reliability and customer comfort. The Railroad will upgrade and reconfigure infrastructure at Jamaica to improve reliability. This will bring more than 90% of track assets to a state of good repair.
  • Station Accessibility and Improvements – $910 million: The LIRR will make seven additional stations accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; 93% of stations, serving 97% of customers, would be accessible. The LIRR will bring component work and upgrades benefitting up to half of all riders to more than 20 stations, including platform, elevator and escalator replacements.
  • Signals and Switches – $364 million: In accordance with the LIRR Forward plan to accelerate infrastructure renewal and improve train reliability, the LIRR will replace 32% of switches, 21% of track circuits and 11% of grade crossing equipment at the locations with highest maintenance needs. The Railroad will upgrade signals and interlockings on three branches that are technologically obsolete. The total also includes spending on enhanced communications equipment.
  • Rolling Stock – $487 million: The Railroad will purchase 160 new M9A electric cars, expanding the fleet by 13%. Fleet growth allows for at least 25,000 more seats into Grand Central during the morning rush hour. The LIRR will purchase nearly 20 coaches and more than 10 locomotives serving the railroad’s non-electrified territory.

The 2020-2024 Capital Plan will institutionalize and build on the progress of the Subway Action Plan and create a faster, more accessible, and more reliable public transportation system. The program plans to invest more than $40 billion in New York City Transit’s subways and buses alone – including crucial signal upgrades – as well as major investment in Metro-North. The proposed level of investment is by far the highest in the MTA’s history, increasing spending on infrastructure by 70% over current levels, which were already the highest ever. The entire press release is available here.

For more information about the modernization of the Long Island Rail Road, including East Side Access and the LIRR Expansion Project, please visit