Governor Andrew Cuomo preached on rebuilding New York state after the COVID-19 pandemic, announcing a plan for the Bronx that included completing a connection for the Metro-North Railroad to Penn Station and four new stations in the borough.
Not only will Metro-North be accessible to Penn Station through Moynihan Train Hall, there will be new stops at Co-op City, Morris Park and Hunts Point, Cuomo said on Thursday morning, which could happen by 2025 after the federal government recently signed off.
“The key is access and access to mass transit. If you look at the parts of the city that have redeveloped quickly, you notice they all have one thing in common; They are all very accessible by train,” Cuomo said. “There’s a lot of problems with this idea, this is a complicated idea. It’s not just Metro North Metro North is part of MTA, the train tracks are owned by Amtrak and the federal government. This is complicated, and this is expensive. This is a lot of this is over a billion dollars.”
Cuomo says access to 160 trains, not including Amtrak, will be available to communities as part of the Metro-North improvements by the time the project wraps will be part of his larger plan to redevelop Penn into the Empire Station Complex.
“Penn Access is a terrific project, repurposing existing rail infrastructure to provide new capacity, connectivity and resiliency, and providing critical transit accessibility to historically under-served communities in the Bronx,” Tom Wright, President of the Regional Plan Association. “RPA looks forward to working with communities and the MTA to make sure we take full advantage of this transformational investment.”
Janno Lieber, President of MTA Construction & Development, said while the stations do not yet exists, the bones are there to give residents of the eastern portion of the Bronx an option for getting to work in Midtown Manhattan.
“The most cost-effective capital projects are those that squeeze more mass transit service out of existing infrastructure, rather than always building something new from scratch,” Lieber said. “By rebuilding this under-utilized Amtrak rail line to accommodate new Metro-North service, this project will give East Bronx residents better access to jobs, education and a full range of opportunities.”
The state has outlined transit improvements at Penn Station with an increase in platform capacity by 40% with a controversial expansion to a block to the south of the much-despised transit hub.
One aspect of the governor’s proposal for Penn Station opposed by Midtown Manhattanites has been the tentative development rights to the real estate industry to build up to ten new skyscrapers in the vicinity of the station, possibly putting the Hotel Pennsylvania and other undesignated historical sites of value to preservationists at risk of going the way of old Penn Station.