Governor Kathy Hochul vowed to continue several mass transit mega-projects first proposed by her predecessor Andrew Cuomo at a construction trade group event Thursday morning, Oct. 14.
“As your governor, I’m going to make sure that we have a world-class transportation system going forward in the future. We’re not done building, we’re just getting started,” Hochul told the New York Building Congress at a breakfast event in Midtown. “Our rail, our highways, our airport infrastructure, we’re just getting warmed up.”
After hitting the brakes on the controversial LaGuardia AirTrain project earlier this week, the chief executive promised the influential building industry association that she will move ahead with big proposals pushed by the disgraced ex-governor, including an overhaul of the Port Authority Bus Terminal and an expansion and redevelopment of Penn Station.
“My friends we have to fix this. This is New York, this is not a third-world country, let’s get rid of that eyesore and make it something magnificent that people are so proud of,” Hochul said of the Midtown bus hub.
“And the same with Penn Station. That is one scary place my friends, let’s get that done,” she said. “I brought my daughter up there not long ago, I said, ‘Sweetheart I hope I see you again, I’ve enjoyed being your mom.’”
Hochul teased her January 2022 State of the State address for more projects the state plans to undertake.
“When you see my State of the State address, I hope you have this sense of ‘Wow, that’s awesome. That is incredible what we’re going to do,’” the governor said.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unveiled its $10 billion revamp of the world’s busiest bus terminal in January of this year, with plans to install charging infrastructure and move to an all-electric fleet, while increasing rider capacity by 40%.
For Penn Station, former Governor Cuomo announced in his 2020 State of the State address the huge $306 billion construction project dubbed Empire Station Complex by the state’s Empire State Development to expand the train mecca and erect 10 skyscrapers in a two-block radius around it, dubbing the newly-created commercial area the “Penn District.”
The latter scheme has drawn criticism from preservationists who have called on the state to save several old buildings within the project’s scope from the wrecking ball, such as the century-old Hotel Pennsylvania.
Former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief Pat Foye left the agency in the summer and was poised to head the ESD at the end of September, but changed his mind after Cuomo’s stepped down and told Hochul last month he would not take over the helm of the state’s development arm after all.
Hochul’s announcements come just two days after the Port Authority officially hit pause on its contested $2.1 billion AirTrain proposal for LaGuardia Airport Tuesday after the governor asked them to review alternative mass transit options.