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Schumer calls on FTA to provide federal funds to improve L train

January 12, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer is asking the Federal Transit Administration to ensure that federal funds are budgeted for improvements along the overcrowded L train, which runs through numerous Brooklyn neighborhoods. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File
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U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer on Tuesday called on the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to ensure federal funds are budgeted for improvements along the overcrowded L train. The MTA’s proposed $300 million project would increase capacity and reduce overcrowding on the L, which runs through Brooklyn neighborhoods that have seen some of the largest increases in population in New York City.

More than 300,000 customers use the L Train on an average weekday, an increase of 98 percent since 1998. Specifically, weekday entries at the L train’s busiest station, Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, have increased by 250 percent. Schumer explained that the L line needs more trains in order to accommodate the increase in passengers.

The MTA’s proposed project would add three power substations to allow for two additional trains per hour, a 10 percent increase in service that could carry an additional 2,200 passengers per hour. Schumer is calling on the FTA to include the MTA’s project in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget recommendation to Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“The growth in neighborhoods from Williamsburg to Bushwick to Canarsie means the L train is literally bursting at the seams. Sometimes getting on the L train at rush hour is harder than getting tickets for a Beyoncé concert or ‘Hamilton’ on Broadway. That’s why I am calling on the Federal Transportation Authority to fund the MTA’s plan to increase capacity and improve service on the L line, including adding two new trains an hour and building new entrances at the most jam-packed stations,” said Schumer.

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“The MTA’s improvement project will increase capacity and reduce overcrowding along the L train, making for a smoother commute for beleaguered straphangers. The FTA should do everything possible to fast track this essential plan to improve L train capacity and service,” Schumer continued.

The L train’s two-track line spans 10.3 miles between 14th Street/Eighth Avenue in Manhattan and Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway in Brooklyn. The L train travels through a number of heavily populated Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Starrett City, Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Bushwick and Williamsburg.

In Manhattan, the L train serves Stuyvesant Town, East Village, Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, several of which are increasingly popular destinations for workers, shoppers, tourists and more. The L train has experienced a ridership increase of 27 percent since Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC), a signal system that allowed New York City Transit to run more trains per hour, was installed in 2007.

The MTA’s proposed project will increase capacity and reduce overcrowding on the L train. In addition to the three power substations, the proposed project will add entrances and elevators at the First Avenue and Bedford Avenue stations. At more than 49,000 customers on an average weekday, these two stations are the busiest stations along the L train line. As part of the project, the MTA would install elevators at the two stations to make them fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and add new street-level entrances at both stations to make it easier to enter and exit the stations.   

The MTA recently submitted the project for inclusion in the president’s FY17 budget. The submission is currently under review by the FTA administrator who will then submit recommendations to the secretary of transportation. Schumer is urging the FTA to include the MTA’s Canarsie Line Power Improvements project in the budget recommendation. The total project cost is estimated to be $300 million, of which MTA is seeking roughly $150 million in federal funding.

—Information from U.S. Sen. Schumer’s Office


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