New York Daily News
N.J. suits stall key fixes of subway signal system – MTA
Delays in the city’s congestion pricing plan are forcing the MTA to delay key subway signal upgrades, transit officials said Wednesday.
The toll is designed to raise $1 billion a year for the MTA’s capital expense coffers.
But while MTA work crews have been installing toll collecting equipment throughout the congestion zone for months — and a state board is expected to announce the proposed cost to drivers as soon as next week — a pair of lawsuits brought by New Jersey officials has cast a pall of uncertainty on congestion pricing.
“We can’t award contracts that would be paid for by congestion pricing until the funding is fully secure,” the MTA’s construction and development chief, Jamie Torres-Springer, said Wednesday at a meeting of the agency’s board.
Among the projects being put off is a $1.3 billion plan to install modern signaling systems along the Fulton St. line of the A and C trains in Brooklyn.
The system, known as Communication Based Train Control, or CBTC, allows the MTA to more accurately locate trains in the system — which will let them run trains more quickly and safely.
CBTC is already in place on the L and No. 7 trains, and is planned to be installed on tracks used by the A, C, E and G trains. Crews have been installing the necessary equipment on the Eighth Ave. portion of the A, C and E line this year.
An MTA budgetary analysis released Wednesday shows that a contract for the Fulton St. CBTC installation — originally slated to have been awarded in June — is now expected some time in 2024.
New Jersey’s lawsuits — pushed by Garden State officials who gripe about congestion tolls’ impact on their constituents who drive in Manhattan — are putting MTA projects “at risk,” Torres-Springer said. “As we’ve been saying for some time, some priority projects will be delayed.”
“The Fulton CBTC project, and some other projects, are delayed into next year,” Torres said. He called the delays “an unfortunate result” of the risks imposed by New Jersey’s lawsuit.
Other outstanding capital projects in the MTA’s outgoing budget include Phase II of the long-delayed Second Ave. subway.
The agency is on the hook for $4.3 billion of a total $7.7 billion cost to extend the much-awaited subway line 1.76 miles into East Harlem. A federal grant will only cover the remaining $3.4 billion if the MTA covers its share on time.