Last week’s news that the MTA completed construction of three fully accessible elevators at 59th Street in Sunset Park is great news. It will benefit thousands of N and R subway riders from Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and other adjacent neighborhoods.
Instead of the usual cry of insufficient resources, there are two ways the MTA can obtain financial support to pay for bringing more of the 472 subway stations into compliance with the Americans With Disability (ADA) Act.
The MTA receives $1.4 billion in annual assistance from various Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant programs. In 2021, this will grow to $1.5 billion.
During my time at FTA, I had the privilege of working with the MTA in the development, review, approval and subsequent oversight of federal grant funding, which financed construction of numerous ADA subway station improvements.
They all turned out to be a great investment of your tax dollars.
Why not ask any major business, college or hospital that benefits from subway stations adjacent to their facility to sponsor installation or upgrades to existing elevators? Let them split the cost with the MTA in exchange for naming rights.
The MTA needs to make some difficult decisions as to what projects and programs may have to be canceled or reduced in the $51 billion 2020-2024 Five Year Capital Plan, which is no longer financially viable.
This is necessary to find funding for installation of ADA compliant elevators at more subway stations.