Cuomo to Boost Train Capacity at NYC’s Penn Station by 40%

Henry Goldman

(Bloomberg) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to expand train capacity at Pennsylvania Station by 40% and create larger terminals.

His plan would transform the existing station, and integrate the Moynihan Train Hall that’s expected by open by the end of 2020, into an Empire Station Complex. Once that hall is finished, the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak will move there, allowing more space for the other railways that use Penn.

“This will improve how more than half a million New Yorkers commute, travel and work every day, while transforming Penn into the world-class facility the Empire State deserves,” Cuomo said in remarks prepared for a speech at the Association for a Better New York.

The project will be financed by state funds, bonds and revenue from the station, Cuomo said. He said the cost is to be determined.

“This is a project we can actually do on our own,” Cuomo said.

“I’m not going to wait for the federal government,” he said. “We have to make our own our future.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that while he supports increasing Penn Station’s capacity he couldn’t support Cuomo’s plan yet because the governor hadn’t briefed him about the details.

“It’s really important to the long term future of New York City,” de Blasio said during a news conference in the city borough of Queens. “If we are going to address climate change, we’re going to have to use mass transit, we’re going to have to use trains, a whole lot more.”

The Moynihan Train Hall, a gleaming new $1.6 billion station, will transform Manhattan’s iconic Farley Post Office. It is named after former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and will feature a soaring atrium and retail mall.

New Tracks

Once Moynihan opens, the focus will shift to expanding Penn Station, Cuomo said. The state will acquire the block south of the station and create a new terminal, which would allow for the addition of at least eight new underground tracks to the system’s 21, he said.

The project is part of a commitment the governor has made to reduce congestion and improve mass transit, including subways, airports and bridges across the region. Other projects include a comprehensive renovation of LaGuardia Airport in Queens and the revamping of several upstate airports, including those serving the cities of Syracuse and Rochester.

“We are in control of our own destiny,” Cuomo said. “If we invest in our asset and improve our asset the future is ours. You cannot stand still. You have to be continually moving and moving. You do nothing, they pass you by.”

(Adds Mayor de Blasio’s comments beginning in seventh paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Goldman in New York at hgoldman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Flynn McRoberts at fmcroberts1@bloomberg.net, Stacie Sherman, William Selway

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