October 18, 2010

Paterson, Schumer, Gillibrand, Nadler, Lahood, And Bloomberg Break Ground On New Moynihan Station

Moynihan Station Will Expand Penn Station, America's Busiest Train Station, Creating Jobs, Bolstering Aging Infrastructure and Serving as an Economic Engine for New York

Governor David A. Paterson, Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and other officials broke ground today on phase I of the construction for Moynihan Station. The groundbreaking takes place on the 100th anniversary of the opening of Penn Station, the largest and most widely used train station in the United States. Prior to the groundbreaking, Governor Paterson and Secretary LaHood signed a final grant agreement providing $83 million in Recovery Act funds to New York through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Transportation Initiatives Generating Economic Recovery” (TIGER) program. Senator Schumer led the effort to secure the funding to begin Phase I of the construction.

The future Moynihan Station will improve passenger safety and security for the more than 550,000 people that pass through Penn Station on a daily basis and will be a catalyst for growth. Completion of the long awaited station will create an economic engine to restart development across the entire West Side; growth that has stalled with the national economic downtown.

“This is an historic day for New York; not only the 100th Anniversary of Penn Station, but also the birth of another,” Governor Paterson said. “Today we break ground on one of New York’s most important transportation projects. While the size and scope of the project may have changed over the years, its goals never have remained constant. This critical infrastructure project will create thousands of jobs for our construction workers and foster economic growth. I would like to thank Secretary LaHood, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Silver for their support and I commend Empire State Development and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for their ongoing efforts to move this project forward.”

“Moynihan Station is poised to be one of the greatest transportation and infrastructure legacies of our generation. Transportation infrastructure is the life-blood of New York and investing in it is a tried and true job creator,” Senator Schumer said. “The construction of Moynihan Station will create jobs, upgrade aging infrastructure, and leave behind an economic engine for the entire region. This project will bring together large numbers of people who can live and work in close proximity, which is New York’s secret formula for success. Our public transportation systems must continue to expand in sync with our population and job growth and confidence in the future. Indeed if we don't boldly build for the future, we will lose our status as the greatest city and State in the nation. I want to thank Governor Paterson, Secretary LaHood, Mayor Bloomberg, Senator Gillibrand, Congressman Nadler, the Moynihan Station Development Corporation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Amtrak for working so hard together on this project. But, above all, we humbly thank the late, great Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan for his vision, passion and challenge that we are determined to meet.”

“There’s no better way to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Penn Station’s opening than seeing Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s dream of building a grand, new gateway to New York City become a reality,” Senator Gillibrand said. “I applaud Governor Paterson, Senator Schumer, Secretary LaHood, Mayor Bloomberg, and all the New York agencies, corporations, and parties involved who have worked tirelessly in moving the Moynihan Station project forward. I am proud to have helped push for Federal investment in this project’s first phase, which will create hundreds of jobs, bring our aging infrastructure into the 21st century, improve mobility and security for millions of passengers, and spur economic growth.”

“Moynihan Station is a significant addition to our city’s infrastructure and a worthy initiative that helps preserve the legacy of the late Senator Moynihan, who first championed this project,” Congressman Nadler said. “I have proudly supported this important rail project for years, and I want to especially thank Senator Schumer, whose dogged persistence has made this day a reality. I am very pleased that we were able to deliver $85 million in Federal funding for the first phase through the Tiger I grant. This is precisely the sort of use for stimulus funding that we intended – for local and regional economic development, job creation, all in the name of necessary public works and infrastructure in our communities.”

“Thanks to the Recovery Act, New York is receiving $83 million to help bring this Moynihan Station project to life,” Secretary LaHood said. “These Recovery Act dollars will increase passenger access, streamline rail operations, and improve safety at Moynihan Station in the near term. And over the long term, these developments will place New York City at the heart of the region’s high speed rail system and America’s twenty first century transportation network.”

“Penn Station is the nation’s busiest train station but today it’s also its most congested. The start of the first phase of construction of Moynihan Station represents a big step towards realizing Senator Moynihan’s vision of creating the type of world-class gateway New York City deserves,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “Thank you to Secretary LaHood and the Obama Administration, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressman Nadler for helping secure this final funding piece for the first phase and to Governor Paterson, Speaker Silver and the Port Authority for moving forward on this important project. We’re looking forward to working with all of the stakeholders to help bring about the full transformation of the complex and add much-needed transportation capacity.”

The Governor, Senators, Representative, Secretary and Mayor were joined by Empire State Development Chairman and CEO Dennis Mullen, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Christopher O. Ward.

The first phase of the Moynihan Station project, “Moynihan Moving Forward,” will include the expansion and enhancement of the 33rd Street Connector between Penn Station and the West End Concourse, which lies under the grand staircase of the Farley building. The project will also provide for the extension and widening of the West End Concourse to serve nine of Pennsylvania Station’s 11 platforms, new vertical access points and passenger circulation space and entrances into the West End Concourse through the 31st and 33rd Street corners of the Farley building. The first phase of construction is expected to be complete by 2016. Planning is well underway for Phase 2, which will include the construction of the intercity train hall.

The Federal government has made substantial economic stimulus funding available for transportation projects, creating new opportunities to assist in meeting project financing needs while reducing the share of costs that must be met by State and local sources. The Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) approved the first phase of improvements in July, which will transform the Farley Federal Post Office Building in Manhattan into the new Moynihan Station, a grand rail gateway into New York City. The budget for Phase 1 is $267 million and is being jointly funded by the State and Federal governments.

Empire State Development Chairman and CEO Dennis M. Mullen said: “Moynihan Station has steadily progressed from the planning phase to implementation under the leadership and guidance of Governor Paterson and today we mark a historic milestone. The development of the Farley building and creation of Moynihan Station is critical to the economic viability of the greater metropolitan area. We are expanding America’s busiest train station and ensuring passenger safety for the thousands that pass through Penn Station daily. I would like to congratulate the MSDC Team that has worked tirelessly to continue this forward momentum and I look forward to the next milestone for this significant project.”

Moynihan Station Development Corporation President Timothy J. Gilchrist said: “This month we mark the 100th Anniversary of New York’s Penn Station, not only through the recognition of past achievements but through the anticipation of success in the future. With thousands of passengers passing through Penn Station daily, we refocused this project to improve the passenger experience, as well as to ensure the safety and security of all Penn Station passengers. Today's milestone for Moynihan Station's first phase is the culmination of years of work and planning, and for that I’d like to thank everyone on the Federal, State and city levels who has lent their time and effort to help us move Moynihan forward.”

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The following statements were provided in support of the Moynihan Station construction:

Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson said: “Over the last century, Penn Station has evolved to become a signature gateway to New York, a critical hub in our region’s transportation network, and a major economic driver. I’m proud that we’ve come together to provide the resources necessary to get the new Moynihan Station underway, especially in these tough fiscal times. This will enhance safety and improve the overall travel experience for commuters. This is an investment that will help create jobs and further strengthen New York’s economic position – a fitting way to commemorate the station’s 100th anniversary. I’d like to commend Governor Paterson, Mayor Bloomberg, Senator Schumer, Empire State Development, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for their work in moving this project forward.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: “Given that mass transit is the lifeblood of this great city, I am delighted that ‘phase one’ of the construction is beginning. I have always believed that Moynihan Station should be a monument as distinguished as the great New Yorker for whom it is named. Today is a special day for New York and I am proud to be a part of it.”

Senator Martin Malavé Dilan said: “Today marks a century for Penn Station, the heart of New York’s transportation system. It also marks the beginning of yet another milestone for our great city, the development of Moynihan Station. The redevelopment of this transportation hub represents an investment in the next one hundred years of safer, more efficient and reliable public transportation. I applaud Governor Paterson, and each and every person whose commitment to this project has led to today’s ground breaking.”

Assemblyman David Gantt said: “One of my top priorities as chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee has been improving transportation infrastructure throughout New York State. This project is a prime example of how we can further revamp the road and rail networks across our State to make public transportation more accessible for our citizens.”

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried said: “Turning the Farley Post Office into a train station worthy of entering the City of New York is long overdue. This project will be a catalyst to development and economic growth in the area, while promoting historic preservation and improving transportation access in the region. The community looks forward to working closely with the Moynihan Station Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey for their work on the coming phases of the project.”

Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer said: “Ambitious transportation infrastructure projects, like Moynihan Station, are crucial to New York's regional and global competitiveness. Phase 1 of Moynihan Station will not only create tangible improvements for over half million people who pass through Pennsylvania Station on a daily basis, but is a critical first step to realizing Moynihan Station's completion as a spectacular new gateway to our City. I would like to thank Governor David Paterson for his leadership, and the Moynihan Station Development Corporation and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for their hard work in moving Moynihan forward.”

Bob Yaro, President of the Regional Plan Association, said: “We’re very pleased this critical project is finally getting underway, after years of delay. There is no more important project for creating needed transportation capacity in the regional rail system and for catalyzing the redevelopment of New York's Far West Side.”

Vin Cipolla, President of the Municipal Art Society said: “Today we celebrate the start of the first phase of one of the most important public works project in the northeast, one that will in the near term create jobs and ease crowding in congested Penn Station, and in the long term improving rail infrastructure and sustainability for the region."

Denise Richardson, Managing Director of the General Contractors Association of New York, said: “Moynihan Station will not only improve transit service at the busiest train station in the country, but this vital project will support hundreds of very much needed jobs in the construction industry. This long awaited project will also lay the groundwork for the economic development of the Farley Post office and the surrounding area and create a grand gateway to New York City.”

Peg Breen, President The New York Landmarks Conservancy, said: “The long-awaited start of Moynihan Station is welcome news for New York and the whole northeast corridor. Now we need to ensure that the design of future train hall proves worth the wait.”