Good evening. My name is Lisa Daglian and I am the Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC. Thank you for the opportunity to testify.
Penn Station Access is a long time coming, and we’re thrilled it’s coming to fruition. It will involve the construction of four new ADA-accessible Metro-North stations in the eastern Bronx at Hunts Point, Parkchester-Van Nest, Morris Park, and Co-op City, include infrastructure improvements along the route, and add new rail service on the New Haven line to Penn Station. It is scheduled to open after East Side Access – also a long time coming.
Penn Access offers a chance to equitably expand transit options to underserved areas and populations. In the case of Co-op City riders, it will shave an hour each way off their commutes. That’s substantial enough to change your life! Commuter rail will finally be in the reach of east Bronx riders, many of whom don’t live anywhere near a subway. It’s important to ensure that it’s financially within their reach. To truly make this new transit option equitable and move people out of express buses and cars, it is crucial that the MTA embrace expanding and implementing Freedom Ticket: city commuter rail fare discounts with transfers to subways and buses.
PSA – when coupled with fare discounts – will support local and regional economic growth and expand access to job centers, local educational and medical institutions, and to commercial and retail centers, along with opportunities for reverse commuting. While not in this scope, we also support consideration of a stop in Queens to further expand the reach of the new service.
Penn Access will also increase our transit network’s redundancy and connectivity, allowing people to transfer more easily and get around the region from the Penn Station hub – similar to what ESA will do for those traveling to and from Grand Central.
We are pleased to support this project, to call for implementation of city commuter rail fare discounts, with transfers to subways and buses, and to encourage further review of a future Queens stop. Thank you!
Download Testimony Here: PCAC Testimony Penn Access 6.15.2021