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Two transit agencies recently obtained significant funding commitments last month for projects in the Big Apple.
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority received a $1.3 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement from the Federal Transit Administration for the first phase of MTA New York City Transit’s Second Avenue Subway project. To be distributed during a seven-year period, the grant will cover 27 percent of the project’s $4.9 billion cost.
Scheduled to open in 2014, the line’s 2.3-mile first phase will run along Second Avenue north from 63rd Street to 105th Street and include three stations.
The entire Second Avenue Subway project includes three additional phases that will extend the line up to 125th Street and down to Hanover Square in the Financial District. Once complete, the line is expected to accommodate 560,000 riders daily.
Meanwhile, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced it will contribute an additional $1 billion toward New Jersey Transit’s Trans-Hudson Express Tunnel project, under which NJ Transit will build two single-track passenger-rail tunnels beneath the Hudson River to a new station below 34th Street in Manhattan.
The port authority now has pledged $3 billion toward the $7.5 billion project.
VRE first-ever commuter road to land a RRIF loan
Last month, Virginia Railway Express (VRE) received a $72.5 million Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan from the Federal Railroad Administration, making VRE the first commuter railroad to obtain a loan under the RRIF program.
VRE plans to use the loan to purchase 50 new bi-level passenger cars, which will enable the agency to replace old cars, expand its fleet, add seating capacity and improve service. The commonwealth of Virginia will provide $20 million for the car purchase.
The RRIF program authorizes the FRA to provide $35 billion in direct loans or loan guarantees to eligible railroads, state and local governments, and government-sponsored authorities.