In a letter to Anthony R. Coscia, Chairman of the Board of Amtrak, the borough’s elected officials are demanding that the rail company cease its actions that are currently holding up progress on the proposed East Bronx Metro-North expansion, which will bring commuter rail service to Co-op City, Morris Park/Van Nest, Parkchester and Hunts Point.
“Universal support exists for this critical project among Bronx communities and elected leadership. Despite this reality, Amtrak stands in the way by refusing to negotiate a reasonable MOU with the MTA that would allow work to commence,” states the letter. “It is long overdue for Amtrak to get on board.”
The letter can be read here.
“The East Bronx Metro-North expansion is universally popular, and has tremendous potential to connect our borough to economic centers to the north in Westchester and Connecticut while also creating a new option to midtown,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Amtrak is being entirely unreasonable. Amtrak is using its ownership of the tracks to hold up MTA for more money, but it is really commuters across the region who are being held hostage.”
The city has recently launched the Bronx Metro-North Working Group, which will engage local residents and businesses to optimize this new commuter rail service. The group is led by Borough President Diaz, Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, New York City Economic Development Corporation President James Patchett and City Planning Director Marisa Lago.
This fall, the group will start work with the Hunts Point, Parkchester/Van Nest, Morris Park and Co-op City communities, where new stations are anticipated, to put plans into place that acknowledge the needs and priorities of each neighborhood. They will also plan holistically with local stakeholders for the economic development, job growth and housing opportunities the new service presents, including the infrastructure and quality of life investments needed to accommodate them in a way that best benefits Bronx communities.
To view the presentations, learn more about the station areas, to sign up to receive updates on the planning initiative and to get involved, please visit the Bronx Metro-North Study here or e-mail BMNS@planning.nyc.gov.