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MTA Board Approves Capital Construction Plan

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted today to send its Capital Construction Plan to Albany for final approval.

The $26.3 billion, five-year program is for 2010-2014.

It includes plans for new subway cars, station improvements, new signals on the Number 7 subway line, new environmentally-friendly buses and larger-scale projects including the Second Avenue subway line and the East Side access for the Long Island Rail Road.

MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jay Walder says it reflects the current economic situation and introduces a new way of doing business for the cash-strapped agency.

"Our focus right now is on making the MTA a more efficient and more effective company," Walder said.

This approval comes just a month after the board approved service cuts and layoffs to fill a $800 million gap in the agency's operating budget.

The capital program is separate from the operating budget and is $1.8 billion leaner than when it was introduced in the fall. The savings come from a scaled-down approach to fleet replacement, maintenance facilities, and improvements to subway stations, where only areas that need fixing will be repaired, rather than tackling expensive full station projects.

The first two years of the plan are already paid for, but the last three, which totals $10 billion, is not. As a result, MTA officials say there is still work to be done to secure those resources.

"I believe everyone when they finished their work last May realized that there was more work to be done to establish a secure funding framework for the MTA in the longer term, for its capital program," said Walder. "I think those issues still remain but they are issues that don't have to be resolved today."

"Because of the limitations of funding, it doesn't have everything we would like in it, but they preserved the real core, the real important parts of it,” Henderson said.

The MTA Board also approved a deal unveiled Monday to redevelop the West Side Rail Yards.

As part of the deal, Related Companies would put a $1.7 million down payment for a 99-year lease of the 26-acre property. It would pay out $1 billion over the course of its lease, with the money going directly to MTA capital projects.

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