Amtrak, MTA Reach Pact on NEC Access

Amtrak has relented on two demands it has long made to allow the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to use its tracks in the East Bronx of New York City.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he has brokered an agreement between MTA and Amtrak that will enable Metro-North commuter rail service to build four new stations in the East Bronx.

The deal hinges upon a plan to delay a bridge replacement that was called “beyond a state-of-good-repair” nearly a decade ago.

MTA has agreed to pay for the stations to be built in Hunts Point, Parkchester, Morris Park and Co-op City.

Amtrak has agreed to allow Metro-North trains to use Amtrak-owned tracks on the Northeast Corridor to reach Penn Station in New York.

Officials have described the area in the East Bronx where the stations are to be established as a “transit desert” that has limited subway service.

Amtrak has long demanded that MTA pay track access fees and that the public transportation agency repair the two-track Pelham Bay Bridge, a project estimated to cost $500 million.

The bridge was built in 1907 and requires extensive ongoing maintenance. The top speed over the bridge is 45 mph.

The MTA-Amtrak agreement calls for the bridge replacement to be delayed for 10 to 20 years and for MTA to conduct a joint study with Amtrak to consider the feasibility of Amtrak expanding its service to Long Island.

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