As of June 3rd, the revision of the MTA’s proposed 2010-2014 Capital Program was deemed approved by the Capital Program Review Board (CPRB), according to a memo from Chair and CEO Jay Walder. The program covers five years, but only the first two years are funded. The State must take action at a later time to provide a funding source for the last three years.
The original Capital Program that was submitted to the State’s CPRB, which is required to approve the MTA’s Capital Program before it can go into effect, made some very optimistic assumptions about the level of federal funding that would be available to the MTA. The original draft assumed passage of a federal transportation bill taking effect at the point when the last transportation bill expired at the end of federal fiscal year 2009. This did not happen, and as a result the federal funding that is now expected to be received in the first two years of the Capital Program is $1.76 billion lower than in the original draft. To keep the funding gap in the Capital Program stable, the MTA reduced the size of expenditures by the same amount. Consequently, the projects funded in the Capital Program have changed, and while there are some additions, some shifting of projects from year to year, and some changes in approach, most of the changes are cuts to projects included in the original draft released in October 2009.
At NYC Transit, the major reductions from the original Capital Program draft are an $819 reduction in fleet costs achieved by reducing purchases of subway cars, buses, and paratransit vans. Transit will also rely more heavily on articulated buses to reduce operating costs. There will also be reductions in the scope of large station renovation projects and implementation of the new component approach to station rehabilitation, deferral of vent plant replacement, and deferral of yard expansions and renewals. This last reduction will mean that Transit will continue to store trains in tunnels because in off peak times and days, because there is not enough capacity in yards. The use of bus depots and repair shops and the next generation of CBTC technology is also under review.
At the Long Island Rail Road, the MTA will defer construction of the first phase of the Ronkonkoma-Farmingdale second track (although funds for its design are not cut) and construction of the new yard on the Port Jefferson branch. The scope of improvements to the diesel locomotive shop are reduced, which is part of a new strategy to have the LIRR and Metro-North share maintenance facilities. Also deferred are the purchase of work locomotives, station access improvement designs and parking improvements, some non-critical track and right-of-way work, and some non-critical traction power facilities. The LIRR is adding to its capital projects the purchase of diesel multiple unit or similar “scoot” vehicles that will be used in shuttle service to provide service to lower demand areas.
At Metro-North, the MTA is eliminating M4 and M6 critical systems replacement work, reducing the scope of Harmon Shops improvements to focus on electric equipment maintenance, rehabilitating only critical components at stations, and eliminating non-critical right-of-way, structures (viaducts, bridges, etc), and traction power work.
The revised Capital Program also includes funding to move toward Positive Train Control at the commuter railroads, as mandated by federal law. The megaprojects (East Side Access and Second Avenue Subway) continue to be funded under the revised proposal.