NY Penn Station track expansion included in Gov. Cuomo’s proposed $306 billion infrastructure plan

Jan. 15, 2021
The governor’s State of the State detailed projects that will enhance and improve transit operations, including a new PANYNJ Bus Terminal, the LIRR Third Track Project and Phase 2 of the Second Ave. Subway Extension.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has included a $306 billion infrastructure proposal as part of his larger 2021 agenda. The infrastructure proposal is the largest in the state’s history and will include plans to transform Manhattan's Midtown West neighborhood, rebuild the state's airports and improve transportation infrastructure – including several transit focused initiatives.  

"I sit in the office and live in the home occupied at one time by FDR. Part of Roosevelt's genius was that he understood that it was not the buildings and programs themselves that actually turned around the economy, it was the people," said Gov. Cuomo. "Building new projects enhances day-to-day life. Seeing progress lifts peoples' spirits. And building with bricks and mortar also builds public optimism and confidence."

He added, “Altogether, we are expanding our infrastructure plan to invest $306 billion in the future of New York. That's not just the largest infrastructure plan in New York history. It's the largest, most ambitious plan put forward by any state in the nation."

The governor’s plan calls for a $51-billion program to redevelop Midtown West in New York City to build new outdoor spaces and affordable housing, as well as improve public transit and pedestrian connections.

The transit aspects of the plan include the replacement of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) Bus Terminal, which will replace an outdated facility with a new terminal. The governor says the project will reduce congestion, improve air quality and transform transit to and from the west side of Manhattan. 

Building off the momentum of the Moynihan Train Hall opening earlier this year, Gov. Cuomo says attention will turn to New York Penn Station, which will operate as a single complex with the new train hall. He plans to advance development of the Empire Station Complex, which was first proposed five years ago. Work will begin on the $16-billion project to add at least eight additional tracks to Penn Station through the acquisition of the property south of the station. The additional tracks will increase train capacity by 40 percent, reduce delays and improve operations.

The governor’s office explains the Penn Station project also anticipates future delivery of the Hudson Tunnels project as part of the Gateway Program that includes two new tunnels to bring passengers across the Hudson River and renovation of the two existing tunnels.

The governor included the second phase of the Second Ave. Subway Extension that would see the subway connect to 125th Street from 96th Street in his plan to further enhance transit in New York City. The state recognizes the financial crisis faced by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority during the COVID-19 health crisis and the impact that crisis has had on its five-year capital plan. However, Gov. Cuomo says he anticipates the capital program to get “back on track” once additional federal financial relief is delivered.

Gov. Cuomo noted the state will continue to support the $2.6-billion Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Third Track Project. Last week, LIRR said the project’s 2020 progress was ahead of schedule and under budget to deliver station enhancements and eliminate crossings as part of the project that will add a third track along the 9.8-mile section connecting Floral Park and Hicksville. In addition to modernizing track and signal infrastructure, the project will construct additional parking garages, renovate stations, as well as renovate and construct new bridges. By the end of 2021, MTA will have completed all eight of the grade crossing eliminations on the mainline, six of which will have new vehicular underpasses.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.