New York Gov. Hochul, New Jersey Gov. Murphy announce major step toward modernization of Penn Station

June 10, 2022
MTA, in partnership with Amtrak and NJ Transit, is seeking firms to design Penn Station reconstruction.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is partnering with Amtrak and New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) to request proposals from architecture and engineering firms to guide the New York Penn Station Reconstruction effort recently outlined in the Penn Station Master Plan study that was announced in the fall.  

"The transformation of Penn Station into a world-class, commuter-focused transportation facility befitting the central hub of the greatest city in the world cannot come soon enough," said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. "We have shared a vision of a single-level unified station with soaring ceilings that welcome natural light, clear, intuitive sightlines, more circulation space and more connectivity to streets and platforms. With this announcement, the MTA is taking a concrete step toward making that vision a reality. Thanks to the efforts of the Biden Administration, Sen. [Chuck] Schumer's leadership and the support of Sen. [Kirsten] Gillibrand and our congressional delegation, new federal resources are available to assist in creating a new Penn Station for the entire region."   

Gov. Hochul's plan calls for the transformation of Penn Station into a modern, spacious, light-filled facility that is easy to navigate, while also revitalizing the surrounding neighborhood to prioritize the public realm and social services, invest in affordable housing, increase transit access and shared streets, and create a pedestrian-friendly streetscape. Penn Reconstruction will modernize the concourse experience for passengers with improved platform connectivity, streamlined wayfinding and enhanced amenities. The future expansion of Penn Station will add track and platform capacity and be fully integrated with a reconstructed Penn Station.   

"As the centerpiece of one of the most important transportation networks in the world, Penn Station requires an atmosphere and appearance that reflect its tremendous importance to the region," said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. "For several decades Penn Station has not provided New Jersey commuters and visitors with the comfort and convenience they deserve. Now, as a result of partnerships across agencies and state lines, we are prepared to take the next step toward the long-awaited transformation of this pivotal transportation hub."  

In accordance with the master plan developed by MTA and its partner railroads, the rebuilt station will:   

  • Integrate train boarding and all public functions and amenities on a single level with broad concourses and high ceilings. 
  • Create a main concourse on the east side of the station that will be considerably larger than the areas of Moynihan Train Hall and the Great Hall at Grand Central Terminal combined. 
  • Double the ceiling height of the public concourses. 
  • Establish clear sightlines to platform entrances to provide intuitive travel paths through the station.   
  • Increase the number of stairs, escalators and elevators to the station's 11 platforms by 33 percent.  
  • Improve/enlarge pedestrian entrances.   

The current Penn Station - the Western Hemisphere's busiest transit hub - serves more passengers than LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark Airports combined. Amtrak's operation in the new Moynihan Train Hall provides an opportunity to overhaul Penn Station, eliminating the bulk of the first subterranean level to open up the main concourse. The reconstruction of the station is expected to cost between six and seven billion dollars and is estimated to be completed five to six years after the start of construction.   

Additionally, Empire State Development (ESD) announced the creation of the Penn Station Area Public Realm Task Force, which will advise ESD on public realm improvements to revitalize and beautify the area around Penn Station, including reimagined streetscapes and new open spaces. The Public Realm Task Force comprises representatives of involved state and city agencies, local elected officials, community boards, civic organizations and other stakeholders. 

Public Realm Task Force Membership   

  • Governor's office: Deputy Secretary of Economic Development, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, Deputy Secretary of Human Services   
  • Empire State Development   
  • MTA   
  • Amtrak   
  • New Jersey Transit   
  • New York City Mayor's Office  
  • NYC Dept of Transportation   
  • NYC Dept of City Planning   
  • NYC Economic Development Corporation  
  • Manhattan CBs 4 and 5 (two appointees from each board)   
  • Civic organizations: Regional Plan Association and 34th Street Partnership   
  • Developers in GPP Area   
  • MSG   
  • Rep. Jerrold Nadler  
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney  
  • State Senator Brad Hoylman  
  • State Senator Robert Jackson  
  • State Senator Liz Krueger  
  • Assemblyman Richard Gottfried  
  • Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine  
  • Councilmember Erik Bottcher  

The task force will be charged with developing a Public Realm Concept Plan, assisted by architect Claire Weisz's WXY Studio, that includes a prioritized list of desired public improvements like the designs of streets and open spaces, and guiding principles for additional public realm design, programming and operations. ESD and the task force will also work closely with the New York City Department of City Planning to ensure its work is coordinated and consistent with the city's broader public realm planning goals.   

A Penn Station Area Public Realm Fund will be created, funded by a portion of the real estate revenues generated by new redevelopment of the GPP sites, starting with a commitment of $50 million in early project revenues.   

Gov. Hochul also announced the premiere of a video showcasing the state's vision for a new Penn Station and for the revitalization of the area surrounding it. The video encapsulates public presentations made during more than one hundred meetings to community groups and elected officials over the past two years, so all New Yorkers can understand the plan, and how - after decades of trying -- New York can finally build a New Penn Station, worthy of the Empire State. The digital video can be found here and on a new webpage about the project.  

In parallel with Penn Reconstruction design, the railroads anticipate beginning a review of the Penn Reconstruction project under the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. That review will include robust outreach as required by law and will be supplemented by a Station Working Advisory Group to ensure as many local and regional voices as possible are heard and the best ideas are incorporated into the design.    

Reimagining the station is part of the governor's commitment to ensuring equitable transit access and achieving economic development. This will be particularly beneficial for users of the forthcoming Metro-North Railroad stations in the East Bronx (Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester, and Hunts Point), for whom travel times to and from Midtown will be reduced by up to 50 minutes as a result of Penn Access.  

Other reactions to the announcement: 

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, "This is a huge step in our ongoing effort to completely transform Penn Station. The MTA has already completed the iconic new entrance to Penn on Seventh Avenue and we are approaching the finish line on the project to double the size of the Long Island Rail Road concourse in the station. The next steps are laid out in the Master Plan we developed. Imagine a soaring world class station with high ceilings, open spaces and natural light - like Grand Central Terminal or Moynihan Train Hall. That's where we are headed in this next phase."  

New Jersey Transit President and CEO Kevin S. Corbett said, "This request for proposals represents an important first step by NJ Transit and our partners at the MTA and Amtrak to deliver the world-class experience our Penn Station customers deserve. Penn Station serves as a vital hub for the millions of NJ TRANSIT customers who commute to and from New York annually. I look forward to working with our partners on a design that ultimately transforms and expands the station into an open, welcoming and modern facility that meets the needs of today and accommodates the demands of tomorrow."  

Amtrak President and CEO Stephen Gardner said, "New York Penn Station is more than just the busiest rail hub in North America - it is a gateway to the nation's largest city for rail passengers from across the nation. We thank Governor Hochul, Governor Murphy, MTA and NJ Transit for their partnership to design a beautiful new, modern and bright, world-class station complex fit for New York. With the support and collaboration of our partners, we will give the region's residents, visitors and commuters an improved station that increases its vitality to the city, economy and local community."    

MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer said, "Rebuilding Penn Station starts with great design, and we are seeking world-class talent to assist us in this effort with this solicitation. Representatives of the three railroads will select this multidisciplinary team to support all aspects of the next phase of the project, including detailed design and engineering as well as the robust stakeholder and community outreach the Governor has committed to for this project."  

MTA Long Island Rail Road Interim President and MTA Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi said, "The reconstruction of Penn Station is great for Long Island, and will be great for Bronx, Westchester and Connecticut customers on Metro-North's New Haven Line in just a few short years. With Grand Central set to host LIRR trains before the end of the year, creating the ability to connect between Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North under one roof for the first time, I am thrilled to see the Governor's continued commitment to creating a world class customer experience for riders of both railroads at Penn Station."