Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday backed efforts to bring Metro-North service to Penn Station through the Bronx, a project the MTA has been studying.

During his State of the State address, Cuomo endorsed the proposal as a way to ensure Metro-North's ability to enter Manhattan in the event of another major storm, as well as provide transit options to east Bronx residents, who can spend more than an hour commuting to the central business district.

"We will open a new spur for Metro-North railroad to provide more resiliency and direct access to Penn Station," Cuomo said.

To bringing Metro-North to Penn Station, the MTA could use Amtrak's Hell Gate line through the east Bronx, which would gain four new stations in Co-Op City, Morris Park, Parkchester and Hunts Point.

Bronx residents who travel to the West Side could see commuting times drop to 30 minutes.

An administration official said the plan would be in the $1 billion range, financed from federal funds for Superstorm Sandy.