Why did MTA forfeit funds?


To the Editor:

In 2023, the MTA Metro-North followed the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and not the federal National Environmental Protection Act for three Bronx station capital improvement projects.  This was highlighted in the N.Y. Daily News Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 Public Notice for the Metro-North ADA Improvements.

At Three Bronx stations - Harlem Line Project Notice, the text included a reference to being exempt from the SEQRA. There was no mention of compliance with the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Following NEPA is one requirement necessary to preserve eligibility for potential Federal Transit Administration funding to pay for any planned capital improvements.   

Why did the MTA, on behalf of Metro-North, potentially forfeit obtaining federal funding for ADA work at the Harlem Line Botanical Gardens, Williams Bridge and Woodlawn Stations?

In 2023, the MTA was eligible to receive approximately $1.8 billion in FTA capital dollars. Every year, the MTA allocates between 10 percent and 15 percent of these funds to Metro-North’s capital program. 

Metro-North commuters, those physically disabled who are unable to board at these stations, taxpayers, transit advocates, transit reporters, local elected officials and local community planning board members deserve answers to why the MTA would forfeit access to FTA funding for these capital improvements?

Larry Penner
Ex-director for the FTA Region 2  in New York

Larry Penner, MTA, funds, SEQRA, FTA, Metro-North, National Environmental Policy Act,