With great fanfare the start of the transformation of the James A. Farley Post Office, directly west of Penn Station, into Moynihan Station for use by Amtrak has now begun. The funding for Phase One was given a necessary boost with the infusion of $83 million from the Federal TIGER (Transportation Initiatives Generating Economic Recovery) discretionary grant program through the persistence of New York Senator Charles Schumer. This project, long a dream of the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, will utimately provide a stunning New York gateway for arriving visitors riding Amtrak.
Phase One is estimated to cost approximately $267 million. In addition to the $83 million, there is an additional $110 million in previously earmarked federal funding, $35 million from the MTA, $14 million from the State of New York, and $10 million form the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. These monies will allow the State of New York to:
*build two new entrances to Penn Station’s platforms from West of Eighth Avenue through the corners of the Farley Building
*double the length and width of the West End Concourse in Penn Station
*provide 13 new “vertical acess points” (escalators, elevators and stairs) to the platforms
*double the width of the 33rd Street Connector between Penn Station and the West End Concourse
*and make other critical infrastructure improvements including platform ventilation and catenary work.
Phase One can begin construction before the end of 2010 and be completed by 2016. Phase Two, restoration of the Farley building, will be separately funded and constructed at an estimated cost of $1 to $1.5 billion. In addition to Senator Schumer, a number of dignitaries were also present at the ceremonies, including: New York Governor David Paterson, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler, U.S. Senator Kirstan Gillibrand, Speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver, and New York State Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch. In attendance were Senator Moynihan’s wife Elizabeth and daughter Maura who have worked very hard in promoting this project.
In addition to announcing the start of Phase One, there was also a recognition of the 100th anniversary of Penn Station. Mayor Bloomberg held up a celebratory proclamation and was joined by MTA’s Chairman Jay Walder along with representatives of Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT.