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Congestion pricing lawsuits delaying subway projects, like ADA upgrades, MTA says

Congestion pricing lawsuits putting ADA upgrades on hold, MTA says
Congestion pricing lawsuits putting ADA upgrades on hold, MTA says 02:22

NEW YORK -- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is making it clear: Pending congestion pricing lawsuits could put major projects on hold.

The MTA says potential setbacks include the rollout of new subway cars, as well as upgrades to its signal system and subway stations.

CBS New York's Elijah Westbrook spoke with commuters at the 145th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue station in Harlem, which does not have an elevator. Riders have to walk down several flights of stairs to access the platform.

"It's really hard to navigate. I have a grandmother and my mother - both are disabled, and I'm constantly helping them," said subway rider Alec Ambrose. 

The MTA says work to make the station more accessible with an elevator and other ADA upgrades is being halted because of the growing number of congestion pricing lawsuits.

"At this particular point in time, what else can the MTA do to try and get these projects up and running? Is there a plan B?" Westbrook asked MTA leaders at February's board meeting.

"No, there isn't," MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber replied. "We have 20 stations that are supposed to have ADA accessibility… It's an equity issue, it's not fair and it's a real concern. So there's no plan B for $15 billion dollars to show up magically."

The MTA released a map showing the 20 impacted stations across the five boroughs.

In 2022, a Manhattan judge approved a settlement in a class action lawsuit that mandates the MTA equip 95% of its subway stations with elevators or ramps by 2055.

Transit leaders recently celebrated the completion of the system's 149th ADA compliant station upgrade at Tremont Avenue in the Bronx. 

The riders Westbrook spoke with in Harlem said they hope their stop receives the same care, regardless of the pending lawsuits. 

"We do have to prioritize everything," said Ambrose. 

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