Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Penn Station Project Part of NY Infrastructure Plan

January 16, 2021

A $306 billion infrastructure plan announced this week by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo includes funding for a reconstruction of New York City’s Penn Station.

The Penn Station project would build on the development of the Moynihan Train Hall that opened across the street from the station on Jan. 1.

Under the governor’s plans, the $16 billion Penn Station project would involve rebuilding the existing station and adding track capacity as part of developing the Empire Station Complex.

“By acquiring property south of Penn Station, we can expand the complex to 40 percent more train capacity and at least eight additional underground tracks to cut down on delays and improve operations for the more than 600,000 [daily] passengers.” Cuomo said in a statement.

The Penn Station project is part of a $51 billion, transit-oriented development in Midtown Manhattan that includes state acquisition of a block south of Penn Station that would allow adding eight tracks to be added to the 21 existing tracks.

The proposal also includes two new Hudson River tunnels, part of the Gateway project, and renovation of the existing tunnels.

Amtrak Ups Contribution to Gateway Project

August 27, 2019

In hopes of moving forward the stalled Gateway tunnel project in New York and New Jersey, Amtrak has increased its funding commitment by $600 million.

At the same time, officials have said the cost of the project has fallen by $1.4 billion to $11.3 billion compared with prior cost estimates.

The Gateway Program Development Corporation incorporated those revised numbers plus Amtrak’s additional funding commitment in a new application for federal funding from the Federal Transit Administration.

The Gateway project is now seeking $5.4 billion, less than half of the project and $1.4 billion less than 2018 funding request.

Aside from Amtrak, the Gateway agency is also partnering on the project with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Frank Sacr, interim executive director of the Gateway agency,  said the hope is that the revised plan “will be attractive to the local partners and we believe also to the federal partners, and to the market.”

Construction costs were reduced by reorganizing the project into a smaller number of large packages for construction.

The proposed new tunnel under the Hudson River is located on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

It has been stalled by the Trump administration blocking a deal negotiated during the Obama administration with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

States to Form Gateway Commission

June 24, 2019

New Jersey and New York are expected to approve legislation setting up a body that would oversee passenger rail projects affect the two states.

The proposed Gateway Development Commission would be similar in structure and purpose as the existing Port Authority of New York and New Jersey which is the agency currently overseeing planning, financing, and construction of the critical pieces of the Gateway Project.

This included the proposed new Hudson River rail tunnels and the Portal Bridge.

New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg said the new agency will serve as a vehicle to to receive federal funding for the Gateway tunnel.

In the meantime, Federal Railroad Administration head Ronald Batory told a Congressional committee that his agency is continuing its environmental review of the Gateway project.

Testifying before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Batory said the FRA has finished 95 environmental review steps but has 27 yet to be completed.

“Does that mean another year? I don’t know,” Batory said.

Critic have accused the Trump Administration of slow walking the funding proposals for the Gateway project.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has called for the state and local governments to pay more for it because it is largely a “local project.”

Some observers have noted that the Gateway project has become a pawn in a feud between Trump and Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York)

Members of Congress from New York and New Jersey have described Gateway as a critical transportation corridor, saying that if existing antiquated tunnels fail that the reduced rail traffic would have negative repercussions for the U.S. economy.

Rail-Trail Dispute Might Be Solved This Month

December 5, 2018

A dispute over efforts to transform part of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in New York State into a trail may be decided this month.’

At issue is 34 miles of track between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, New York.

The tracks are located on state-owned land and are out of service.

The state has proposed ripping up the rails for a hiking and biking trail, but the railroad has sued, saying the tracks should be preserved for historical purposes.

The railroad won a victory in September 2017 when a court ruled the land had been designated to act as part of a “travel corridor,” which has long been defined as being either a highway or railroad corridor.

The Adirondack Park Agency will meet on December 13 to vote on a proposed amendment that would redefine a “railroad corridor” as being “for the operation of rail cars or to serve as a rail trail.”

Bill Branson, president of the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society said this effort to redefine the permitted uses of the “travel corridor” is similar to previous actions that resulted in a court decision in favor of continued rail use.

Branson said the volunteer-operated tourist railroad has a significant economic impact on the area the railroad runs through.

Tony Goodwin, founding director of the Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates, which favors removal of the rails, said that a 1996 plan contains several options, one of which is dividing the rail corridor into segments that could be used for a variety of purposes.

Goodwin said converting the land to enable recreational use would bring in more economic activity.