The governor of New York has announced a plan to deal with the ‘intolerable state of disrepair’ at Pennsylvania Station.
Derailments and cancellations are causing delays for millions of travellers at the station and Andrew Cuomo wants to initiate short and long-term action to address the city’s transportation challenges.
More than 600,000 people travel through Penn Station – which is owned by Amtrak and sits at the heart of the region’s transit infrastructure – each workday, more than triple its designed capacity.
The three main focuses of Cuomo’s plan are to:
- Develop an immediate plan for the Penn Station ‘summer crisis’ (Amtrak is proposing repairs that would reduce the number of trains at Penn Station by about 20 per cent during peak travel times)
- Turn Penn Station into a ’21st century’ transit hub with Farley Train Hall and the Gateway Tunnel
- Challenge the New York City subway system operator MTA to modernise and increase the number of trains at peak periods to relieve crowding and reduce delays.
The governor is establishing a task force made up of leading transportation experts and stakeholders. It will focus on two areas: to develop alternative transportation solutions to deal with Amtrak service cuts this summer and to recommend long-term solutions to develop Penn Station.
Governor Cuomo will ask the task force to consider that the State of New York take over Penn Station as one possible solution.
Governor Cuomo said: “The intolerable state of disrepair in Penn Station and its ripple effect of delays and dysfunction throughout the subway system have reached a breaking point, and we must enact this comprehensive action plan now to find both short and long-term solutions to these growing challenges, upgrade outdated infrastructure and meet the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers.
“This multi-pronged effort will address the chronic failures of the system and make critical, long overdue upgrades to ensure our system is of the highest calibre.
“After decades of neglect, it’s time to seize the opportunity to make real changes to our transportation system.”
Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who will serve on the task force, added: “Amtrak’s main issue has been a lack of funding, and the federal government has both a responsibility and an obligation to fund this vital transportation network, which is important not just to New York State but the entire Northeast corridor.
“We need to thoroughly examine all of the various proposals, including the possible effects they will have on the transportation network and the riding public.”