Representative Nadler, Governor Hochul, West Side Elected Officials and Railroad Partners Unite on Vision for Penn Station Modernization Plan
Washington, June 26, 2023
NEW YORK, NY - Today, Representative Jerry Nadler, Governor Kathy Hochul, local elected officials, and railroad partners announced their united support for a vision of Penn Station Reconstruction. This announcement comes as the MTA and its railroad partners issued a Notice to Proceed to kick off preliminary design on a plan to transform the existing Penn Station into a world-class commuter and intercity transit hub. Renderings of the reconstruction project are available here.
"New Yorkers deserve a Penn Station that's worthy of the greatest city in the world—and today we are moving forward with a set of principles to guide the critical upgrades needed to transform the station into a world-class transit hub," said Representative Nadler. "This project is essential to the long-term economic viability of not only the city, but the entire Tri-State region. Together with our partners at every level of government, we'll aggressively seek the resources necessary to complete this project swiftly to deliver a Penn that works for the community and the millions who pass though the station each year."
The Governor emphasized the urgency of fixing Penn Station and made clear that the project is advancing now. The design will be based on the Penn Station Master Plan, a joint planning process undertaken by the railroads. The Master Plan proposes a comprehensive set of solutions to the existing deficiencies of the station that impede safe and efficient movement of passengers, underutilization of property such as the mid-block taxiway, and takes into account foot traffic patterns to focus on improvements that will best serve users of the station, in a financially efficient way.
Governor Kathy Hochul said, "Penn Station is this hemisphere's busiest transit hub, and New Yorkers deserve a world-class experience when they come to this station. I am committed to driving this critical reconstruction project forward and continuing to work with our partners in the federal government to make our shared vision for a new Penn Station a reality."
MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, "The project will dramatically upgrade passengers' experience by increasing ceiling heights, bringing in natural daylight, and creating better wayfinding and access to platforms. This Notice to Proceed begins the process in which we will rebuild Penn Station responsibly and - most important - getting going before Metro-North service begins in just a few years."
MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer said, "We are excited to move forward with our partner railroads to build the Penn Station envisioned in our master plan. The LIRR concourse is a great example of how projects can be completed efficiently with minimal impact to operations, which we will now develop in more detail with our world class design and engineering team."
Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia said, "As the owner of New York Penn Station, Amtrak is committed to ensuring its future for the new era of passenger rail we are leading. With the support of Governor Hochul, Governor Murphy, Senator Schumer, the Biden Administration and others and the collaboration from our partners at MTA and NJ TRANSIT, we look forward to advancing the Penn Reconstruction project, as well as a future Penn Station expansion, to create a world-class, integrated facility ready to support New York and the region well into the future."
State Senator Liz Krueger said, "We have a rare opportunity to transform Penn Station into the modern, safe, and efficient transit hub that New Yorkers and visitors deserve. I am grateful that Governor Hochul recognizes that this is an opportunity that cannot be squandered and must be accomplished without relying on proceeds from commercial real estate development in the surrounding area that may never materialize."
State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal said, "I'm grateful to Governor Hochul for the urgent call to action she is announcing today on rebuilding Penn Station, the busiest transit hub in the Western Hemisphere. Rather than depend on speculative commercial real estate development that could take decades, if ever, to realize, Governor Hochul is proceeding with a plan to finance the redevelopment of Penn Station now so the current generation of riders, members of the local community and businesses have the benefit of a modern and safe station, an improved public realm and a plan that helps address the needs of unhoused New Yorkers in the area."
Assemblymember Tony Simone said, "New York deserves a world class transit hub for the 21st century that returns the iconic feeling when someone enters our city. Today we begin a new path to delivering on that promise. By disconnecting the prior General Project Plan, we can deliver a new Penn Station with sound financing on a timeline with confidence, without relying on commercial development. I am grateful for Governor Hochul's leadership in ensuring our transit infrastructure is a top priority for New York State and look forward to working with my partners at all levels of government to deliver a grand new Penn Station as soon as possible."
Commitment to Funding
New York State has already appropriated $1.3 billion for Penn Station Reconstruction. Additional funding is anticipated via cost-sharing among the railroads that use the station and federal grant programs being aggressively pursued. The project is included on the Northeast Corridor Project Inventory priority list, making it eligible for Federal-State Partnership funding via the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and an application for preliminary design was submitted in the Spring. These sources make it possible to fund Penn Station Reconstruction without immediate development proceeds from the Pennsylvania Station Area Civic and Land Use Improvement Project General Project Plan (GPP) adopted by Empire State Development.
While Penn Reconstruction can move forward without proceeds from the GPP, the GPP remains a tool that can be used in the future to support additional infrastructure development. In addition, New York State is committed to exploring opportunities for additional residential development in the Penn Station district.
Penn Reconstruction is both separate and distinct from the future Penn Station Expansion. Both station projects will be subject to federal environmental review. The potential acquisition of property on City Block 780 is not part of the Penn Station Reconstruction project and may only be considered pursuant to the federal environmental review process for Penn Station Expansion. This expansion of Penn Station is critical to realizing the additional capacity from the construction of a new Hudson River Tunnel under the Gateway Program.
Preliminary Design of Penn Reconstruction
The preliminary design consultant includes WSP|FXC JV, with noted architect John McAslan participating as well. McAslan is recognized for his successful experience designing stations in Sydney, Belfast, New Delhi, and for his design of the reconstruction of Kings Cross Station in London, particularly the impressive skylight in the historic station's expansion, which created a new train entry hall with an innovative single-span atrium structure that brings in new light and air and creates a central gathering place for commuters.
Penn Station is the Western Hemisphere's busiest transit hub, serving more passengers than LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark Airports combined. Currently, its building systems are outdated and do not meet the most current standards for energy efficiency, air quality, and comfort. Penn Station is a critical transportation hub for the region. It has by far the highest ridership of any station in in each of the rail networks that utilize the station, helping the New York region boast the highest public transportation use in the country. Usage will soon increase with the completion of the Penn Station Access project which will bring Metro-North service into Penn Station by 2027. The projected growth of NY/NJ metropolitan region communities is expected to increase the number of daily passenger trips in Penn Station by about 15 percent from its pre-pandemic levels over the next two decades, from 600,000 in 2019 to 678,000 in 2038.
Neighborhood investments in the public realm will be made and may include wider sidewalks, public spaces for events and special occasions, improved wayfinding, and specialized street lighting. By making a safer and more comfortable public realm, these improvements will allow pedestrians to move seamlessly and safely throughout the entire Penn Station district, with high quality public spaces to enjoy. The Penn Station Area Public Realm Task Force will continue to work with all relevant community stakeholders to develop the goals and objectives for the Penn Station district. In order to accomplish these objectives, we look forward to starting our negotiations with Madison Square Garden to seamlessly integrate the arena with the redesigned Penn Station.
The LIRR Concourse Project reached substantial completion in March. This project raised the ceiling to 18 feet, doubled the width of the corridor, enhanced accessibility, constructed an iconic New Penn Station Entrance on Seventh Avenue, improved lighting, air flow, and wayfinding, improving the customer experience and increasing circulation with minimal disruption to MSG or the Station's operations. Coming soon are new and returning retail and dining options, whose spaces were also completely rehabilitated. Amtrak invested $300 million in Penn Station over the last five years, including completing lighting and platform improvements at the track level, improving accessibility with a new elevator being installed at the 32nd Street and 7th Avenue entrance and introducing "Art at Amtrak" a year-round public art initiative.