As 6sqft previously reported, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans early this week for a $1.6 billion overhaul of Penn Station, and further details revealed that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority would be responsible for $150 of the project’s costs. Since those plans were released, questions have been raised about where that organization’s share of the tab would be coming from in an already stretched budget.
In a presentation Tuesday, the governor announced that plans for transforming a revamped Penn Station-Moynihan Train Hall complex into an modern transportation hub were back on the schedule complete with new renderings and a developer-builder team. Calling the current Penn Station “overcrowded, decrepit, and claustrophobic,” the governor described the plan to build a new 255,000-square-foot train hall in the historic James A. Farley Post Office and revamp the MTA’s LIRR concourse in the existing station in addition to already-planned renovations to the attached subway stations.
The Wall Street Journal reports that MTA board members have expressed some concern about how those costs will be covered by an organization that has already has budget worries of its own. At a MTA meeting after the announcement, board member Veronica Vanterpool expressed concerns about “any additional projects that were not originally identified as priorities now becoming priorities” for the organization.
State authorities approved the latest version of the MTA’s $29 billion capital budget through 2019, though there is growing concern over how they’ll come up with the money. Ms. Vanterpool asked whether the Penn Station project would redirect funds already set aside from existing projects, or whether state officials would be allocating more funds to the MTA to cover the project.
It has been noted that Ms. Vanterpool was among the four MTA board appointees recommended by Mayor Bill De Blasio rather than by the governor. The state of Penn Station has long been a pet peeve of Mr. Cuomo’s, and the relationship between the two Democrats has often been contentious.
Several board members, including those recommended by the governor, have said they’re not worried. MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast, a two-time Cuomo appointee, said that the agency’s bill for the Penn Station project “would be worked out down the line” and echoed the governor’s sentiments about the positive impact the upgrades would have for the city’s commuters.
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Neighborhoods : Midtown West