How disappointing that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority forgot to acknowledge the Federal Transit Administration for providing the funding to pay for the latest new subway cars purchased on behalf of New York City Transit during a recent ceremony held in Brooklyn for delivery of the first five cars.
A series of FTA grants to the MTA, over several years, will pay for most of the base bid of $1.44 billion awarded to Kawasaki to purchase 535 new state-of-the-art R211 subway cars.
They will primarily replace a similar number of subway cars currently operating on the A and C lines along with the Staten Island Railway that have reached their useful life.
There will be a year’s worth of testing before riders can board the train in September 2022. Delivery for all 535 cars, including 75 for Staten Island Railway, is anticipated to be completed by September 2024. This assumes there will be no additional project delays.
There are also option clauses to the contract which afford the MTA opportunities to purchase up to 1,077 additional cars at a cost of $3.7 billion.
Future FTA funding will also pay for many of these cars as well. Previous subway car procurements suffered from delays of several years during plant production, inspection, acceptance, testing, and delivery before riders could reap the benefits.
Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office.