The MTA will spend more than $200 million this year to run its new Long Island Rail Road service to Grand Central Madison, a major financial boost for suburban riders.
Gov. Kathy Hochul joined MTA leaders on Sunday at the new station deep below Grand Central Terminal to mark the full opening of the new service, which will run up to 24 trains per hour. Officials said the new trains will increase weekday LIRR service by 41%.
Riders Alliance spokesman Danny Pearlstein said the agency should make similar investments to expand subway and bus services in New York City.
“New Yorkers deserve more transportation options that get them to more places faster,” Pearlstein said. “The completion of Grand Central Madison and the opening of a new service proves that New York can provide those options and we can afford those options.”
MTA leaders have been warning of service cuts in New York City for more than a year if lawmakers fail to find new revenue streams to close a budget gap created by the pandemic that has hit passenger numbers and fares.
Hochul this month presented an increase in payroll taxes in counties served by the MTA, using revenue from casinos planned for the city to help close the gap, which transit officials estimate at $600 million this year and by grow to $1.6 billion by 2026. Hochul also asked the city to increase its annual funding for the MTA by $500 million, an amount Mayor Eric Adams said he did not support.
Riders Alliance and other public transportation advocates have called on Hochul to secure an additional $300 million for the MTA in this year’s budget — saying they want the agency to use the extra money to fund trains and buses every six months. minutes during most of the day.
“With Governor Hochul inaugurating the new Long Island suburban service, it is only fair to the city’s millions of passengers that we see some level of equity, that we see more frequent bus and subway service,” Pearlstein said. . .
The cost of running the new LIRR service to Grand Central Madison will grow from just over $200 million this year to an estimated $239 million by 2026, MTA records show. And those expenses come after the project cost more than $11 billion to build, is more than a decade behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.
“This may be the best day for New York’s commuter railroads in the last century,” said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan. may also serve well for those who fuel the New York City economy when they travel to New York City.”
This story has been updated with commentary from the MTA.