Governor Cuomo will invest $5.6B to transform the LIRR

Posted On Thu, July 20, 2017 By

Posted On Thu, July 20, 2017 By In Jamaica, Policy, Transportation

With the renovations at Penn Station just getting underway, the state released a plan on Wednesday to invest $5.6 billion in renovating 39 Long Island Rail Road stations. This includes the reconstruction of the system’s tracks, switches and signals. According to Governor Cuomo, the project, part of his encompassing $100 billion infrastructure plan, would increase rider capacity by more than 80 percent.

jamaica terminal, LIRR, governor cuomo
Rendering of renovated Jamaica Station, via Governor Cuomo’s office

The state will invest $375 million in reconstructing the Jamaica Station, whose tracks have not been updated since 1913. This includes building higher speed switches, signals and a new platform to increase service capacity to Atlantic Terminal, Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal. The project includes creating a dedicated track to Atlantic Terminal so trains do not have to use crossovers to get to Brooklyn. The new station will create glass-enclosed, heated waiting area, WiFi and USB charging stations.

Part of the investment will go towards adding a third track to 9.8 miles along the Main Line of the LIRR between Floral Park and Hicksville, which carries about 40 percent of all LIRR passengers. The plan will eliminate seven street-level grade grossing and widen or increase the height of seven bridges across the line. Plus, five new parking facilities with the capacity for 3,500 cars will be built in Mineola, Westbury and Oyster Bay. The new third track will have dampening technology and sound-reducing walls along part of the track that passes through residential areas.

A $387.2 million double track project will allow the LIRR to provide off-peak service to Ronkonkoma Branch in both directions, changing the wait time for off-peak trains from every hour to every half-hour in both directions. This project is expected to be completed next summer, 16 months ahead of schedule.

The LIRR’s transformation project falls under the state’s massive $100 billion project, the largest infrastructure investment in the nation. This includes the Gateway Project, which aims to better connect New Jersey and New York by building a new tunnel under the Hudson River and refurbishing the existing one. Additionally, the $100 billion includes the development of the new Moynihan Train Hall. As 6sqft recently covered, the state was just approved a federal loan for $550 million to complete phase two of the project, converting the Farley Post Office across the street into the Moynihan Train Hall, expanding the floor space of Penn Station by 50 percent.

“With the complete transformation of the Long Island Railroad, New York is recapturing the bold ambition that made our infrastructure the envy of the nation and building for the future,” Cuomo said. “The LIRR is the backbone of the region’s economy, and the strength and resiliency of Long Island requires bold, transformative investments to bolster our transportation network.”

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