LIRR to receive $5.7B of work in 2020 MTA capital plan

LIRR to receive $5.7B of work in 2020 MTA capital plan
A third track running from Hicksville to the Floral Park Long Island Rail Road station (pictured) will be among the projects completed as part of the MTA's proposed 2020 capital plan. (Photo by Rebecca Klar)

The Long Island Rail Road will receive over $5.7 billion worth of improvements as part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s largest capital plan in its history, the MTA said Tuesday.

The plan, which will span from 2020 to 2024 and will cost an estimated $51.5 billion altogether, allows for the completion of two overarching projects by December 2022, as well as general improvements to LIRR stations.

One of the two projects is the Main Line expansion, which adds nearly 10 miles of a third track to the Main Line corridor from Hicksville to Floral Park. The track will pass through New Hyde Park, Garden City, Mineola, Carle Place and Westbury.

The second of the projects is “East Side Access,” which will allow LIRR patrons to access the east side of Manhattan through an eight-track terminal at Grand Central Station. The project, the MTA says, will serve approximately 162,000 commuters per day and save an average of 40 minutes on a commute.

“These projects, along with Jamaica Capacity Improvements, will enable a 60 percent increase in reverse commute and a 50 percent increase in peak service between Manhattan and Long Island,” the MTA said of the improvements.

In addition to its overarching projects, the LIRR will receive track upgrades, updated signals and switches, improvements to station accessibility, 20 new coaches and more than 10 locomotives for its rolling stock.

LIRR President Phil Eng said that the new plan will continue the “modernization of the LIRR.”

“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,” Eng said.

The 2020 plan is set to be reviewed by the MTA’s board of trustees on Sept. 25, and would be submitted to the MTA Capital Program Review Board, composed of representatives from the governor’s office, the state Senate and Assembly, and the office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, if approved.

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