Planning for the future of the MTA is essential.
The MTA is an essential public service — essential for our millions of daily riders, and essential for the New York region as a whole.
During the pandemic, mass transit has proven even more critical. As the world shut down, the MTA kept running. Our subways, commuter railroads, buses, bridges, and tunnels were how essential workers got where they needed to be.
As the region has recovered, more and more riders have returned. In June 2022, the MTA moved more than 5 million riders per day across our subways, commuter rails, and buses.
For our riders, transit means mobility: It connects them to jobs and schools, to family and friends, and to anywhere else they want to be. For our region as a whole, transit is even more critical. Transit is what enables New York City to grow and to sustain four times the job and population density of the next largest U.S. city.
It’s not optional for the MTA to meet the challenges of the years to come; it’s essential.
The 20-Year Needs Assessment is how we plan for our future.
Every five years, the MTA takes a long-term look at the region’s transit and transportation needs. The result is the 20-Year Needs Assessment, a comprehensive strategy for the investments we need to make to rebuild and improve the existing system, and to expand and enhance the transit network.
Maintaining and enhancing the system requires constant investment.
Ensuring state of good repair and keeping up with normal replacement of our existing assets is our first priority. In the current Capital Program, more than 80% of funding is dedicated to renewing and improving our existing infrastructure. We must know what level of investment is needed to make sure the existing system can continue to function to meet the needs of our riders and region.
This work is already underway as we assess the condition of the tens of thousands of assets that make our system work. These assets include things the public sees and interacts with every day, like 8,841 subway and commuter railroad cars, 5,771 buses, and 701 subway and railroad stations. It includes the critical behind-the-scenes elements — things like the 124 maintenance shops, yards and depots, 394 electrical power substations, and 301 pumping rooms for the subway — that make the system possible.
On top of ensuring that our assets are in a state of good repair, we’re looking at how to modernize and enhance our core system to meet new needs and longstanding priorities. These include making the system more resilient in the face of climate change, accelerating our progress on accessibility, and installing state-of-the-art signaling technology across more lines.
We also consider potential network enhancement and expansion. While it must be balanced with meeting our core system’s needs, the transit network has to continue to grow and change along with the New York region.
With a system as large and complex as the MTA’s, it is impossible to do everything at once and keep the system running. The 20-Year Needs Assessment helps us prioritize investments to maximize benefits for riders and meet long-term goals. It is also an opportunity to ensure that we reflect emerging trends in our planning. This assessment informs the Five-Year Capital Program, which makes specific investments with dedicated funding over a shorter timeframe.
We’re creating a transparent planning process for potential expansion projects.
While more than 80% of our Capital Program is dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the existing system, it’s still essential that we plan for potential future expansions in light of changing needs. The 20-Year Needs Assessment will also include a Comparative Evaluation of potential expansion projects. This process will level the playing field and give all projects a chance to be fairly and comprehensively considered.
The process will be a systematic analysis of projects to understand their ability to support the MTA’s Investment Principles and their relative costs and benefits. It will examine the benefits related to proposed projects, such as potential ridership, travel time, contributions to network capacity, resiliency, and equity. This will provide a framework to understand where transportation investments will be most impactful and where investments would be most beneficial.
Based on this data, projects will be evaluated to determine how well they meet the MTA’s Investment Principles:
- Expanding network reach: Connecting underserved or new communities to education and employment opportunities
- Serving changing travel patterns: Serving intra-borough and inter-borough travel markets and enabling new business districts
- Supporting local land use: Connecting people and places, creating new employment opportunities, and encouraging new development
- Adding capacity: Satisfying current and future demand or relieve overcrowding
- Enhancing network resiliency: Increasing travel options and redundancy in the transit network.
The next 20-Year Needs Assessment will be completed by October 1, 2023. Engaging with the public and understanding the needs of our riders is critical to plan for the future of the transit system. Please stay tuned for more information and ways to get involved.
Learn more about the process in this video.
Potential expansion and enhancement projects to be evaluated
10th Avenue station on Flushing Line
Constructing a new subway station at 41st Street and 10th Avenue on the Flushing Line.
Reactivation of a 14-mile portion of the Beacon Line between Southeast New York and Danbury, Connecticut, for passenger service.
Extension of the New Lots Av 3 line
Extending the New Lots Av line on an elevated structure southeast through Livonia Yard to a new terminal at either Flatlands Avenue and Linwood Street/Elton Street, or in the vicinity of Spring Creek and Gateway Center Mall.
Harlem Line capacity improvements
Adding capacity on Metro-North’s Harlem Line, including construction of a third mainline track between Crestwood and North White Plains, as well as capital investments in power, signals, and communications, and capacity improvements and associated investments at Brewster Yard.
Hudson Line connection to Penn Station
Implementing Metro-North Hudson Line commuter rail service between Poughkeepsie and Penn Station via Amtrak’s Empire Connection, including construction of up to two new stations in Manhattan and additional fleet storage in Poughkeepsie.
Constructing a new transit line between Queens and Brooklyn along an existing freight corridor, connecting up to 17 existing subway lines.
Inner New Haven Line yard
Building an additional storage yard for Metro-North’s New Haven Line fleet in Port Chester, New York, for capacity enhancement.
Long Island Rail Road Elmhurst Station
Reconstructing and providing service at the Long Island Rail Road’s Elmhurst Station on the Port Washington Branch in Queens.
Myrtle Avenue busway
Converting an existing MTA-owned right-of-way into an exclusive busway running approximately half a mile from Palmetto Street near Onderdonk Avenue to Fresh Pond Road.
Port Jefferson Branch improvements
Adding capacity on Long Island Railroad’s Port Jefferson Branch, including electrification, double tracking, stations, storage yard, and associated infrastructure.
Port Jervis Line capacity improvements
Adding capacity on Metro-North’s Port Jervis Line, including construction of a new rail yard at Campbell Hall.
Rail line and branch electrification
Creating an analytical framework for electrifying MTA’s remaining diesel rail territory, along with related infrastructure improvements.
Reactivation of the Lower Montauk Branch
Reactivating a nine-mile segment of Long Island Rail Road’s Lower Montauk Branch between Jamaica and Long Island City.
Reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Branch
Reactivating an approximately eight-mile segment along a former Long Island Rail Road right-of-way in central Queens, including construction of new stations in Central Queens, with connections at Aqueduct and Howard Beach.
Second Avenue Subway, westbound expansion to 125th Street
Extending the Second Avenue Subway west along 125th Street, including two to four new subway stations. Alternatives being considered include: terminating at Broadway and 125th Street, turning north under Broadway to a connection at 137th Street, turning north under Riverside Drive to a connection at 137th Street, and turning north under St. Nicholas Avenue and continue along the 8th Ave Line north of 135th Street.
Second Avenue Subway, phase 3
Extending the Second Avenue Subway south by three miles, from 72nd Street to Houston Street, including construction of six new subway stations at 55th, 42nd, 34th, 23rd, 14th, and Houston streets.
Speonk-Montauk capacity improvements
Adding capacity on the Long Island Rail Road’s Montauk Branch between Speonk and Montauk, including signal upgrades and associated infrastructure work.
Staten Island North Shore bus rapid transit (BRT)
Implementing two new BRT routes for approximately nine miles in an exclusive lane on Richmond Terrace, and in mixed traffic along South Avenue.
Staten Island West Shore transit improvements
Improving transit connectivity for the West Shore of Staten Island. Alternatives being considered include: Transportation Systems Management (TSM); BRT along the West Shore Expressway from Tottenville to Newark Liberty International Airport and North Shore; and BRT along Korean War Veterans Parkway and Richmond Avenue from Tottenville to Bayonne.
Sunnyside and Long Island City transit improvements
Assessing the transit needs of the Sunnyside/Long Island City area, including potential new Sunnyside Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Station.
Utica Avenue transit improvements
Improving transit options along the Utica Avenue Corridor in southeast Brooklyn by considering a variety of options including improvements to existing subway capacity, BRT enhancement along the Utica Corridor, partial or full subway extension along Utica Avenue, or a combination of the above.
W line extension to Red Hook
Extending the line from Whitehall St. in Manhattan through the Montague Street Tunnel to Red Hook, Brooklyn, including new stations at Columbia Waterfront (Columbia and Kane streets.), Atlantic Basin (Van Brunt and Verona streets), and Red Hook (Lorraine and Hicks streets), as well as a possible continuation to the existing station at 4th Ave-9th St.
West of Hudson Regional Transit Access Study, Stewart Airport Link
Improving mobility and accessibility between Orange County, Stewart International Airport and the surrounding regions, the lower Hudson Valley, and New York City.
This is a list of projects to be evaluated. These projects have not been selected or funded but will be comparatively evaluated for consideration on a level-playing field for future Capital Programs.